Data | India transitions from money purse to digital wallets


The RBI’s newly introduced index shows that digital payments surged in India, especially during the pandemic

The RBI’s newly introduced index shows that digital payments surged in India, especially during the pandemic

The pandemic has accelerated India’s transition to a digital economy. From over 70% of point-of-sale (PoS) transactions done using cash in 2019, the share almost halved to 37% in 2021. Notably, the share of digital wallets in the mix has improved drastically from just 5% of PoS payments to 25% in the same period. Only China seems to be mimicking this phenomenal rise in wallet payments. The RBI’s newly introduced digital payments index also shows that digital payments surged in India, especially during the pandemic. However, the currency in circulation as a% of the GDP has crossed pre-demonetization levels in India and is the highest among the economies compared

Wallets preferred

The chart shows the% share of point-of-sale payments done using different modes. The share of cash dropped from over 70% to 37% between 2019 and 2021. In the same period, the share of wallets increased from 5% to 25%

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India vs others

The chart expands chart 1 for select economies. Credit cards and debit cards in PoS transactions are still the preferred modes in most countries, while India and China stand out for their preference for digital wallets

Digital payments on the rise

The chart shows the RBI’s digital payment index which measures the extent of digitization of payments in India. The chart shows that digital payments have increased by over 200% between 2018 and 2021

Cash circulation peaks

The chart shows the cash in circulation to GDP ratio among select economies. While digital payments have increased in most economies, cash circulation has risen significantly after the pandemic. In India in particular, the ratio peaked in 2020 and was the highest among economies compared

Source: Bank for International Settlements, FIS Worldpay

Also read: The other digital divide



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