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This Festive Season Indian Consumers Preferring Digital Payment Over Cash

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Digital payments are the preferred payment option for 42 percent of consumers in India, leading card payments (29%) and cash (27%), according to a new online study conducted by YouGov and ACI Worldwide.

While preference for digital payments – including eWallet and UPI payments – is more pronounced with younger consumers (42% for Gen Z and 48% for Millennials), the survey revealed a more consistent picture across age groups in terms of adoption. 77 percent of Millennials had used digital payments at least once during the festival season, compared to 72 percent of Gen Z and 69 percent of Gen X. Nearly half (45%) of Baby Boomers also indicated they had used digitals payments within the survey period.

“Digital payments, including UPI and other eWallets, are increasingly the payment method of choice across a wide spectrum of consumers in India,” said Kaushik Roy, vice president & country leader – South Asia, ACI Worldwide. “While there is still a perception that UPI, for example, is primarily for the peer-to-peer channel, this study shows that significant inroads are being made in the merchant payments channel. With monthly transactions on the UPI platform nearing one billion, and credit and debit card usage at the POS experiencing double-digit annual growth, digital and card payments will continue to make inroads into the cash economy.”

44 percent of respondents used digital payment methods for low-value payment (less than 1,000 INR) via a merchant website (eCommerce) or app (P2M), indicative of the progress made by digital payments in the merchant channel. However, banks, fintechs and merchants should be aware that 40 percent of those surveyed consider data privacy as a top area of concern when it comes to digital payments.

Other key findings and trends:

Payment behaviors and spending patterns

  • 43 percent of respondents used digital payment methods regularly (at least 2-3 times per week) during the festival period, with 15 percent purchasing this way once or more per day.
  • 32 percent have not used cash for festival season purchases, indicating that for some, festival season spending is becoming a largely cashless affair.
  • Only one in ten respondents (10%) claimed to have not made a digital payment method at all in the period leading up to Diwali.
  • Peer-to-peer (P2P) payments were made by 36 percent of respondents for low-value payments (less than 1,000 INR) and 37 percent for high-value payments (more than 1,000 INR) during the festival season.

Consumer concerns and industry opportunities 

  • Internet connectivity (a prerequisite to most digital payment methods) is a top concern for 44 percent, while failed transactions (36%), problems processing refunds (32%) and fraud (29%) also identified as major concerns.
  • Only 21 percent of respondents cited lack of clarity about fees as a top concern and 23 percent lack of acceptance infrastructure at merchants, reflecting increasing ease of use for customers and greater merchant acceptance.
  • Queried about what would encourage more frequent usage of digital payments, 42 percent said better rewards (discounts, incentives or cashbacks); 24 percent cited faster and more frictionless checkout.

As per data released by NPCI, UPI transactions hit an all-time high of 955.02 million in September 2019 as compared to 918.35 million in August. There has been a 135 percent YoY increase in the number of transactions and UPI is soon expected to cross one billion monthly transactions.

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Digital India

COVID-19 Accelerates Digital Payment Adoption

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Many service providers, including banks have significantly reduced offline operations and are asking customers to embrace the digital form for any assistance. Let’s have a look at IT veteran’s take on how E-payments are playing an important role in fighting against COVID-19 which is also promoting the Digital India Mission.

Ashis Guha, CEO, RAH Infotech

“Even while the general money stream has considerably narrowed during the last few COVID months, it is also observed that COVID has played as a catalyst in the growth of digital payment platforms in India, with more number of people adopting  e-transaction modes. Forcing people to either stay at home or maintain social distancing has led people to a behavioral change, compelling to be habituated with online payment platforms. In fact, companies have witnessed addition of a high number of new users of digital payment gateways during this time.

The RBI, National Payment Corporation of India (NPCI), along with government bodies, banks, financial institutions, regulatory authorities, are already teaming up to promote the faster adoption of digital payment methods. The emphasis is on using NEFT, IMPS and UPI. Though different economies are at different stages across the world, the COVID-19 has definitely cleared the road for digital payment methods in India. And it helps levitating the Digital India initiatives.

Certainly, the cyber security of these platforms becomes crucial at this time. As cash flow is halted for many during this time, cyber criminals are using emerging techniques like EMI Moratorium scams, etc. as bait. Attackers are stealing personal data and banking details, among others, and are committing fraud. In India, RBI already has put in place the ‘central payment fraud registry’ (CPFR), to ensure quick and systemic responses in cases of financial frauds.

Digital platforms are in general highly secure; however it is also important how well aware the users are to potential threats reaching out. On the forefront of fighting off digital fraud, the users have to employ caution and security measures. Few basic measures like not using insecure data networks and not opening links to lucrative websites must be strictly enforced. Also, payments must be made only to trusted sources, and payment gateways on phones and other devices must be strongly protected with passwords, finger prints, or facial recognition too.”

Prashanth G J, CEO at TechnoBind

“Technology has made it all possible”. The pandemic gave us a chance to re-evaluate and push businesses everywhere into an accelerated state of digitalization. COVID-19 has increased the adoption of digital payment solutions significantly. E-payments options are making it possible for people to sit at home and order essentials online be it from Flipkart or Amazon or any of the online ecommerce platforms. The use of digital payments was anyway growing but we have now seen this grown even more exponentially thanks to this COVID-19 situation.

The threat of cyber-crime is a real one – and there are technological solutions like encryption and tokenization which helps overcome this cyber-crime threat. There are government regulations in place but the implementation and the imposition of the guidelines of the same should be taken up seriously – currently, there is a gap!

Sunayana Hazarika, Marketing Manager at ATEN

Digitalization is emerging as a potent medium for all business transactions during this Covid-19 crisis and this is here to stay. The Digital India movement is a giant technological leap which is lubricating the wheels of India’s economy during this crisis situation. Though we as a country are still at a nascent stage in adopting this countrywide digital transformation, it is in the best interest to establish robust cybersecurity measures. Ransomware, distributed denial of service, and stealing of classified information are rampant globally and hacking is getting more sophisticated, so it’s imperative to be well equipped to deal with cyber-attacks and close all backdoors. The solution to this is simple, to be proactive instead of reactive. ATEN being a pioneer in Secure KVM solution with built-in hardware and software-based security features are helping government, military, intelligence agencies across the world to allow protected access and management of data.

Shibu Paul, Vice President – International Sales at Array Networks

“Coronavirus has broken the supply chain while rupturing the demand and market trends. As we’re forced to work remotely and use technologies for the first time, we’re realizing the benefits they deliver. Organizations are getting deeper into digital transformation. There is a paradigm-shifting to remote banking, digital payments, and direct financial aid which is further pushing the financial industry to become digital. This transformation will inevitably promote India’s Digital Mission. Policymakers need to support the ways people and organizations are using the internet to come together and deal with new pressures as our lives shift abruptly online. The focal point will be to ensure that critical functions like IT, cybersecurity, fraud prevention, and digital services are well protected.”

Gurpreet Singh, Managing Director at Arrow PC Network Pvt Ltd

“The COVID-19 pandemic has allowed us to modernize and harness the power of technology.  Stakeholders are using technology to cushion the impact of COVID-19.  We see major digital transformation coming up as India gears to establish a sense of normalcy. This shift is bound to drive India’s digital mission. Remote working and e-services have become the new norm. Banking and Personal finance institutions are trying to limit customer walk-ins by augmenting their digital capabilities and extending new online services. We see exacerbated use of hybrid cloud and hyper-converged platforms as people have realized the importance of cloud-based communication-enabled business processing. This has also led to the strengthening of cybersecurity systems to safeguard sensitive data and protect assets from malicious data breaches. Going forward, the industry would need systems that enable remote monitoring of processes and machines. Remote work will play a significant role in business continuity planning and this digital transformation will further aid in fulfilling India’s Digital Mission.”

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Digital India

Ed-tech Startup Bright Tutee Announced Free Live Online Classes for Students Amid COVID-19

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With schools observing indefinite closure to detain the further spreading of COVID – 19, online learning has gained a new prominence among the students. All thanks to technology-led education start-ups like Bright Tutee, students can comfortably learn from the safety of their homes.

Bright Tutee, a New Delhi-based edutech company and India’s fastest growing online learning platform, has now announced to launch free live classes on YouTube for students of class 6th to 8th standard across multiple education boards in India

The live lectures initiated by Bright Tutee follow a class-wise schedule. For instance, class 6 live sessions will go live from 11am to 11:40am, class 7 goes live from 12pm to 12:40pm, while the class 8 periods ensues from 1pm to 1:40pm, etc to provide a virtual schooling atmosphere .

Though several other players in this space are also offering free learning, Bright Tutee has emerged as the first one to transmit its content outside its platform and deliver it for free. Through this initiative, the company has set a new milestone for itself and for others in the ed-tech space, and it is expected that other players too shall follow suit.

Commenting on the noble initiative, Anant Goyal, Director and founder at Bright Tutee said, “With schools witnessing closure due to the global corona pandemic, we have been witnessing a massive level of engagement on our learning platform post the virulent outbreak. To ensure that students stay secure and can learn from the safety of their homes, we have decided to leverage social media channels like YouTube to conduct free classes for students across the country.”

We’re hopeful that this initiative will greatly benefit over 10 million students enrolled between classes 6th to 10th whose learning process has been discontinued due to the nationwide lockdown. The current scenario dictates that the edutech industry as a responsible corporate lobby prioritises the welfare and educational needs of students over conventional business aspirations”.

The swiftly growing and unconventional new-age state of the art tech-driven online learning and edtech player is winning hearts and acclaim from across the industry for its novel and thoughtful gestures. Its free learning app which has been a major hit with students as well as teachers is captivating the imagination of pedagogical experts and edutech competitors across the country.

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Digital India

Virtual Code Gladiators 2020 to Bring Fear-free Environment Amid Covid-19

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Coronavirus pandemic has led the world’s biggest coding competition – TechGig Code Gladiators – to go ‘completely online’ this year. The finale of Code Gladiators 2020 will conclude with a virtual grand finale and felicitation ceremony to boost participation when travelling is prohibited, and social distancing is the new norm.

Another highlight of TechGig Code Gladiators 2020 edition would be the Virtual Career Fair that will help companies interact with coders and conduct live interviews in a COVID-19 fear-free environment via LiveCode. This tool will help companies conduct on-site tech interviews remotely, assess candidates’ coding and communication skills real-time and replay interview videos to benchmark and hire the best fit.

“TechGig Code Gladiators is a platform for anybody who loves to code and can solve complex business problems with the power of code. The contest plays a level playing field for every coder including first-year engineering students to experienced IT professionals. Amid COVID-19 crisis, we will be hosting a virtual grand finale of TechGig Code Gladiators that will be no less in terms of grandeur, engagement, networking and ROI for clients from the offline event. I think Code Gladiators will keep all coders engaged and motivated during the lockdown period. It will be like #CodeinQuarantine,” said Sanjay Goyal, Business Head, TimesJobs and TechGig.

In its 7th edition, TechGig Code Gladiators aims to see even higher registrations than the last year. The 2019 edition of Code Gladiators noted 2,62,000+ registrations, by far the highest ever number so far since its inception in 2014. The 2017 edition of Code Gladiators bagged the Guinness World Record for being the largest computer programming competition.

The technology community waits for the TechGig Code Gladiators excitedly, as companies see it as the perfect platform to meet and hire pre-assessed technologists. And they will be able to do this from the safety of their home amid COVID-19 crisis.

This year, the hackathon themes include new-age technologies as Artificial Intelligence, Machine Learning, IoT, Blockchain, Cloud computing, Microsoft Azure, and RPA. The winners will take home certificates, trophies and prizes worth Rs 50 Lakhs.

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