e-wallets marking its foot in micro retailing in Kerala villages

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PM Narendra Modi’s announcement to scrap the existing Rs. 500 and Rs. 1,000 currency notes came as a surprise to all. Average Indian spent a sleepless night with trepidation about their savings in currency of those denominations. By next morning, it became a new topic for troll and jokes and social media witnessed an avalanche of funny messages. Amidst the chaos regarding long queues and closed ATMs, most of us started resorting to e-wallets such as Paytm for our daily transactions.

With shortage of lower denomination currency, digital money is the king now. Even way side tea stalls, vegetable vendors and neighborhood grocery stores are unzipping their e-wallets.

The latest feedback from Kakkanad, a small time Kerala village in the outskirts of Kochi, is enlightening, even the small tea shops functioning here using e-wallets, more specifically Paytm, when the current ban affected them reversely. A note was put up on the facia “we don’t accept Rs.500, Rs.1000 notes”, next to which was another note with a logo of paytm, which read “Make payment through Paytm”. Surprisingly, the groceries in the neighborhood and even the daily wage labor also have started using e-wallets post the ban.

Today, across regions, nationally hundreds of such small vendors and businesses have switched to mobile and online payment services. While a number of payment gateways, such as Paytm, Mobikwik and Citrus are already in big demand, mobile wallet companies have started offering e-wallet transactions at physical outlets as well.

The wide acceptance of e-wallets and in–app wallets has finally begun marking the beginning of a digital revolution. When e-wallets first hit the market, they had limited scope. For instance, if you load money in your Paytm wallet to use taxi service, one cannot use that money elsewhere, but this has changed now. Slowly restrictions on e-wallets are starting to fade enabling the same being accepted across all major retailers across the country.
Text: Vijisha Kannambath | vijisha@respublica.in
Photographs: Joy Xavier | joy@respublica.in

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