Getting a leg-up from the demonetisation of Rs 500 and Rs 1,000 currency notes in November 2016, the share of e-Money in India's payment systems grew to 21.5 per cent in 2017 from 0.8 per cent in 2012, according to a new report prepared by the Reserve Bank of India (RBI).
With Rs 3,459 million e-Money transactions, India was only behind Japan and the US in 2017 with respect to the volume of e-Money transactions, said the report titled "Benchmarking India's Payment Systems".
The report, which termed demonetisation "a game-changer for e-Money", provides a comparative position of the payment system ecosystem in India relative to comparable payment systems and usage trends in other major countries.
"While demonetisation gave the necessary fillip, the availability of mobile infrastructure and alternate payment systems ensured that payment systems were not affected when cash was in short supply," said the report.
While medium to large-value transactions continue to be made through digital banking channels and cheques, the low-value day-to-day transactions shifted to e-Money, it noted.
The study found that when it comes to using e-Money for online transactions, India is far ahead of other developed countries.
"Although behind China, India has a decent 26 per cent of online transactions using e-Money," said the report.
In terms of the number of ATMs deployed, India is next only to China. During 2012-2017, ATM deployment grew at a compound annual growth rate of 14 per cent.
"While this is good from the customer service perspective, it depicts high demand for cash," said the report.
At the end of 2017, India had 2,22,300 ATMs which, however, dropped to 2,21,703 as on March 31, 2019.
Debit and credit card payments made up 29.9 per cent of India's payment systems volume in 2017.
Based on the mix of the countries benchmarked, India is in the lower rung and ranks higher than only Germany and Indonesia, said the report.