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Digitalization and its impact on financial transactions in India
Authors
Raja Sarkar
Ph.D. Scholar
Department of Business Administration, Utkal University, Bhubaneswar
&
Dr. Sabyasachi Das
Assistant Professor
Department of Business Administration, Utkal University, Bhubaneswar
E-mail id- rajasarkar71@gmail.com
Mobile- 8777723100
Abstract
Digitalalization is the adoption of various existing and developing technologies by organizations in consonance
with the changes in internal operations as well as external relationship to provide better customer services and
experiences efficiently and effectively. Projects such as Make in India and Digital India are now the buzzwords
to a better and sustainable industrial and financial growth of our nation. Government is encouraging technology
adoption/upgradation while providing connectivity with high speed bandwidth to bring together every nook and
corner of the country. This has opened up the vast untapped market in India for digital connectivity. Digital
payment services by banks like Unified Payments Infrastructure (UPI), Bharat Interface for Money (BHIM),
mobile money, e-wallets have created a revolution of sorts in the Indian financial market. Adaptation and
implementation of highly capital intensive global technologies, infrastructure and processes are vital in order to
remain ahead of the curve. Transition in financial transactions such as data integrity, authentication (including
third party authentication) and trust factors are gaining importance as a measure of customer safeguarding.
Enhanced customer satisfaction and value through unified customer experiences, faster output, infinite banking
volumes, financial inclusion, operational efficiencies, scale of economy etc. are being sought after, by
leveraging digital technologies. Digitalization has improved the efficiency and customer experience in several
fields including the financial transaction areas. The present paper will try to explore the impact of digitalization
on financial transactions in India.
Keywords:
Digitalization, Payment, Banking, Transaction, Technology
Introduction:
Digital cash eliminates various problems associated with physical cash, such as misplacement or the potential
for loss or damage. Additionally, digital cash can be traced and accounted for far more accurately in cases of
disputes. As consumers find an increasing number of purchasing opportunities at their fingertips, there is less
need to carry physical cash in their wallets. Other indications that demand for digital cash is growing are
highlighted by the use of peer-to-peer payment systems such as PayPal and the rise of untraceable crypto-
currencies such as bitcoin. Almost anything imaginable that can be paid with physical cash can theoretically be
paid with the swipe of a bank card or mobile wallets. The problem is that the technology is still not
omnipresent. The concept of an all digital cash economy is no longer just a futuristic dream but it's still
unlikely to outdate physical cash in the near future. Digital banks are possible as a consumer option, but people
may still have a need for physical cash in certain situations. ATMs help banks cut overhead, especially if they
are available at various strategic locations beyond branch offices.
Objectives:
i) To understand what digitalization is all about
ii) To find out the benefits of digitalization from both buyers and sellers point of view
iii) To understand the present status of digiatalization in financial transactions in India’
iv) To understand the pitfalls associated with digital financial transactions
Context:
India has ushered in a new era in financial transactions by adopting digitalization. It made our lives easy, hassle
free and much less complicated. Demonetization by the government gave it the fillip it required. In this context,
this article is an attempt to understand how much progress India has made in adopting this new platform for
financial transactions.
Research problem:
Digitalization can be considered a double edged sword. On one hand it makes our life easier by way of giving
us freedom from the slow and often complex manual processes, but on the other hand it presents itself as a
demon by way of various online frauds and scams which resulted in people losing their lives’ savings in the
hands of people having evil intentions. But just like any other innovation, this can be used both as a welfare
mechanism and as a weapon to make people bleed. India though slow in adopting digitalization, has started
moving faster in finding their feet in this area. It’s important to find out the progress India has made in this
aspect.
Review of literature:
Scott, Van Reenen, and Zachariadis (2017) examine the impact on bank performance of the adoption of
SWIFT. They examine 6848 banks in 29 countries in Europe and the U.S. They find that the adoption of
SWIFT (i) has large effects on profitability in the long-term; (ii) these profitability effects are greater for small
banks than for large banks; and (iii) exhibits significant network effects on performance.
Digital finance also benefits governments by providing a platform to facilitate increase in aggregate expenditure
which subsequently generates higher tax revenue arising from increase in the volume of financial transactions
(Manyika et al., 2016).
For financial and monetary system regulators, digital financial inclusion also helps to reduce the amount of
physical cash in circulation and is instrumental in reducing high inflation levels in developing and poor
countries (GPFI, 2016).
Digital financial inclusion can improve the welfare of individuals and businesses that have a reliable digital
platform with which to access funds in their bank accounts to carry out financial transactions (CGAP, 2015).
The theoretical underpinning for the relationship between digital finance and financial inclusion is the premise
that a large amount of the excluded population owns (or have) a mobile phone, and that the provision of
financial services via mobile phones and related devices can improve access to finance for the excluded
population (World Bank, 2014).
The ITU (2016) Focus Group report show that despite the benefits of digital financial services many countries
in the developing world still face considerable challenges in attaining merchant acceptance of digital payments.
Malady (2016) also argue that although consumers may have digital banking credentials to access the digital
financial system, consumers in many emerging markets are not active users of the digital channels due to lack
of consumer trust and confidence in the new channels.
ADB (2016) show that the low level of financial literacy and low awareness of digital finance channels can
reduce customers’ patronage of digital financial channels to perform basic financial platforms.
The wide use of digital technologies has increased the pervasiveness and scale of cyber-attacks that pose
significant threat to the security and privacy of customers' data on digital channels; and regulators' awareness of
cyber risks could prompt regulators to rethink the trade-off between efficiency and security in financial services
(Caruana, 2016).
Research methodology:
This work is based on literature review and various data related to digital financial transactions in India
published by various research agencies. Secondary data has been used to carry out analysis and reaching
conclusions.
Digitalization:
Digitalization is the use of digital technologies to change a business model and provide new revenue and value-
producing opportunities. It is the process of moving to a digital business.
Benefits of digitalization of financial transactions for service providers:
i) Business efficiency - Not only do digital platforms improve interaction with customers and deliver their
needs more quickly, they also provide methods for making internal functions more efficient. While banks have
been at the forefront of digital technology at the consumer end for decades, they have not completely embraced
all the benefits of middleware to accelerate productivity.
ii) Cost savings - One of the keys for companies dealing in financial transactions is to cut costs through
automated applications that replace redundant manual labor. Traditional financial transaction process is costly,
slow and prone to human error, according to McKinsey & Company. Relying on people and paper also takes up
office space, which runs up energy and storage costs. Digital platforms can reduce costs through the synergies
of more qualitative data and faster response to market changes.
iii) Increased accuracy - Traditional firms dealing in financial transactions that rely mainly on paper
processing can have an error rate of up to 40%, which requires reworking. Coupled with lack of IT integration
between branch and back office personnel, this problem reduces business efficiency. By simplifying the
verification process, it's easier to implement IT solutions with business software, leading to more accurate
accounting. Financial accuracy is crucial for firms to comply with government regulations.
iv) Improved competitiveness - Digital solutions help manage marketing lists, allowing companies to reach
broader markets and build closer relationships with tech savvy consumers. CRM platforms can track customer
history and provide quick access to email and other forms of online communication. It's effective for executing
customer rewards programs that can improve loyalty and satisfaction.
v) Greater agility - The use of automation can speed up both external and internal processes, both of which can
improve customer satisfaction. Following the collapse of financial markets in 2008, an increased emphasis was
placed on risk management. Instead of organizations hiring and training risk management professionals, it's
possible for risk management software to detect and respond to market changes more quickly than even
seasoned professionals.
vi) Enhanced security - All businesses big or small face a growing number of cyber threats that can damage
reputations. Several financial organizations and tech firms have been hacked in the recent past. Companies can
benefit from extra layers of security to protect data.
Benefits of digitalization of financial transactions for customers:
i) Convenience - The ease of conducting financial transactions is probably the biggest motivator to go digital.
People no longer need to carry wads of cash, plastic cards, or even queue up for ATM withdrawals. It’s also a
safer and easier spending option during travelling.
ii) Discounts – The recent waiver of service tax on card transactions is one of the incentives provided by the
government. Similarly, saving on rail tickets, highway toll, or purchase of insurance can help cut costs. Add to
these the cashback offers and discounts offered by mobile wallets like Paytm, as well as the reward points and
loyalty benefits on existing credit and store cards, and it could help improve people’s cash flow marginally.
iii) Tracking Spends - If all transactions are on record, it will be very easy for people to keep track of their
spending. It will also help while filing income tax returns and, in case of a scrutiny, people will find it easy to
explain their spends. It will have a good impact on budgeting.
iv) Budget discipline - The written record will help you keep tabs on your spending and this will result in better
budgeting. “Various apps and tools will help people analyse their spending patterns and throw up good insights
over a couple of years.
v) Lower risk - If stolen, it is easy to block a credit card or mobile wallet remotely, but it’s impossible to get
cash back. In that sense, the digital option offers limited security. This is especially true while travelling,
especially abroad, where loss of cash can cause great inconvenience. Futuristic technologies like use of
biometric ID (finger prints, eye scan, etc) can be extremely difficult to copy, making it a very safe option.
vi) Small gains - Another plus is that people can pay the exact amount without worrying about not having
change or getting it back from shopkeepers.
The Digital India programme by government:
Digital India is a campaign launched by the Government of India to ensure connecting rural areas with high-
speed Internet networks and improving digital literacy. The main goal is to make Government services available
to citizens electronically by improved online infrastructure and by increasing Internet connectivity or by making
the country digitally empowered in the field of technology. The initiative includes plans to connect rural areas
with high-speed internet networks. Digital India consists of three core components, (a) development of secure
and stable digital infrastructure, (b) delivering government services digitally, and (c) universal digital literacy.
Launched on 1st July, 2015 by Prime Minister Narendra Modi, it is both enabler and beneficiary of other key
Government of India schemes, such as BharatNet, Make in India, Startup India and Standup India, Industrial
corridors, Bharatmala, Sagarmala, Dedicated Freight Corridors and UDAN-RCS.
The Government of India specifically targets nine 'Pillars of the Digital India' as follows:
i) Broadband Highway, ii) Universal Access to Mobile connectivity, iii) Public Internet Access Programmed,
iv) E-Governance, reforming Government through Technology, v) E-Kranti, electronic delivery of services, vi)
Information for All, vii) Electronics Manufacturing, viii) IT for Jobs, ix) Early Harvest Programmes
Some of the facilities which will be provided through this initiative are Bharat net, Digital Locker, e-education,
e-health, e-sign, e-shopping and national scholarship portal.
Major platforms for digital transactions:
Digital payment platforms have eased cashless transactions, and have been especially popular since
demonetisation. These platforms are capable of making payments in online as well as in offline mode.
However, their features differ and citizens of the country should make the best use of them while making
payments. Below are some of these cashless transaction making platforms and their features:
i) NFC or MST transmission waves platform - Companies have come up with making transaction through
NFC (Near Field Communication) and MST (Magnetic Secure Transmission) technology. Without swiping
card through POS (Point of Sales) machines, payment can be easily made to merchants through its wireless
transmitting magnetic waves. This facility by downloading MST enabled app and also, the phone should
support NFC facility. Once it is done, after registering card details, contactless transactions can be made
through phone on any of merchants’ POS terminal.
ii) Sound based payments platform - Some companies have launched app with sound transmission fund
transfer facility. This technology is only a software-driven application, and it does not require any hardware
upradation on the ATMs to make use of it. This highly secured application makes contactless transactions
through sound waves technology. Once this application is downloaded on smartphones and after registering the
cards, this app can make payments from the phone at any POS machine through sound waves even though
purchasers do not have physical cards along with them. This app also enables easy cardless cash withdrawal to
the customers from ATMs.
iii) Mobile Money Identifier - MMID is a seven digit unique number which is issued by the bank once a
mobile number is registered. A person who wants to send money and the person who wants to receive that
money should have MMID for the particular interbank funds transfer. However, through MMID, only a small
amount (around Rs 10,000) within a day can be tranferred. Almost all banks are providing this facility of
making small payments.
iv) UPI App based payments platform - UPI has come up with a unique feature of creating virtual address
through which money can be transferred without disclosing account number and IFS code to the receiver. UPI
works on a real time basis which means the money is transferred instantaneously. UPI also supports the other
medium of doing funds transfer. UPI facility is available with all the banking apps and almost all the other
private and public banks. Now, most of the banks are embedding their UPI feature within their mobile banking
app only.
v) QR Code based payments system - QR code is again a different mechanism of making the transfer of
payment where payers only need to scan the QR code of the merchant and do the transfer of payments. It is
being mostly used by all the digital payments app like BHIM, other banking apps to make the transfer of
payments easily. The black square holds the information about the items whereby scanning the code
information gets transmitted automatically through the smartphone and payments get done. Bharat QR code has
been launched by the government to push the digital payment initiative in all the way round.
vi) USSD code payments system - If someone does not have a smartphone or internet facility, still payments
can be made dialing USSD (Unstructured Supplementary Service Data) code even from basic phones and
following certain instructions. It is a GSM-based technology where transactions take place through messages. It
is a platform which forms a medium between the telecommunication and banking financial services altogether.
For every banking app, there are different dialing code which need to be checked with service providers while
making the transfer of payments. All telecom service providers have their own USSD codes.
vii) Aadhaar enabled payment system - The Aadhaar payment app works on an Aadhaar Enabled Payment
System (AEPS) facility, which is a bank-led model offering multiple financial services through Aadhaar
number. Multiple bank accounts can be linked through Aadhaar Payment Bridge (APB) platform by which
payments can be made from any of the customer’s accounts to the merchant. To make the best use of it,
Aadhaar number needs to be linked with bank accounts.
viii) Net banking payments platform - As the name suggests it simply means getting banking services online.
This facility can be availed through mobile banking too. Net banking allows customers to carry out transactions
without visiting the bank. Net banking helps in payments from anywhere using mobile banking app or just by
logging in to banking websites. It provides three modes of payments. Firstly, NEFT, which takes time while
transferring money. It runs the process in batches hence the time consumption is slightly more. If the receiver is
not in a hurry to get funds then they can use NEFT. Secondly, IMPS helps in getting funds transferred on real
time basis. When the required amount for transfer is bigger, RTGS facility can be used.
ix) Digital wallet payment system - Money is loaded in digital wallets through this platform. However, the
constraint is that fund can be transferred to the same wallet only. Some other e-wallets in the digital
marketplace are Mobikwik, Freecharge, Oxigen, Reliance Money, Paypal, Buddy, Lime, Payzapp, Pocket, Yes
Pay, etc.
x) Magnetic stripped cards - These are magnetic strip cards in the form of debit or credit cards. People use
these cards quite often for making payments. These cards can provide benefits of reward points per transaction
and other cashback offers. These cards are usually offered by banks which are mainly powered by VISA,
MasterCard or Rupay in case of India.
Factors responsible for rise in digital payments over the last 12 months in India:
i) Embedding of offline space in the business growth strategy - Offline space has evolved into the most
recent battlefield for payment service providers. Banks have deployed almost 29 lakh POS terminals across the
country, up by almost 95% from pre-demonetisation level. This space has also attracted the attention of UPI
and PPI players, and many of them have developed innovative solutions to assist large merchant
outlets, micro-merchants, cash on delivery payment facilitators of e-commerce firms, etc., in accepting
payments seamlessly over mobile phones. Customers facing issues with cash availability post the note ban
began to experiment with these digital payment modes.
ii) Building of ecosystem around digital payments: Quite a few players rolled out multiple solutions allied
with digital payments, which further helped in their adoption. A notable few were:
 Integration of enterprise resource planning (ERP) of corporates with the UPI solution for real-time
management information system (MIS) updates
 Disbursement of instant loans based on the footprint generated by digital payments
iii) Boost to interoperability: One of the most significant changes in the payments landscape is the push
towards interoperability, with instruments such as UPI allowing transfers between 55 banks, independent of
the acquirer payment service provider mobile app.The increasing adoption of the Bharat Bill Payment System
(BBPS), Bharat QR and interoperability guidelines for PPI players will lend a further push to seamless, secure
and interoperable payments.
iv) Promotional efforts by players: Several payment processing firms and FinTech companies leveraged
demonetisation to penetrate the market. In an effort to expand their market share, quite a few of them offered
loyalty points, instant cashbacks and referral rewards to users. While some may have doubts about the long-
term sustainability of such offers, the promotional efforts definitely provided an impetus to users considering a
switch to digital payments.
Growth of digital transactions in India- Results of the financial inclusion drive:
According to data released by the Reserve Bank of India (RBI), digital transactions in the country have
reportedly crossed the 1 billion mark in December, 2017 after recording nearly 1.06 billion transactions. There
was a hike of about 6.5 percent in comparison to November, 2017 which had 998 million total digital
transactions up to that point.
Demonestisation decision in November, 2016 and widespread use of UPI (Unified Payment Interface) and other
e-wallet services are strong driving factors of this jump in digital transactions in the past year or so.
The RBI data shows that UPI alone has raised transactions by up to 40 percent month-on-month after it saw
nearly 145.5 million transactions in December as compared to 104.8 million done in November.
IMPS (Immediate Payment Service) also grew by 10 percent to see nearly 98 million transactions as compared
to 9.5 million in November, 2017 said the report. Also, traditional transactions via card grew by about 8 percent
month-on-month after debit and credit cards recorded nearly 264 million transactions in December as
compared to 244.6 million in November, 2017.
However, according to the RBI, the highest amount of card transactions has been 311 million transactions and
they were carried out in December, 2016 post the cash-crunch period. This number is yet to be surpassed.
The RBI report says that UPI transactions were only 2 million in December, 2016 and by December, 2017 that
number had risen to 145.5 million. E-wallets like Paytm, PhonePe, Google's Tez and the BHIM app have played
a big hand in shaping the economy from a cash-strapped one to progressively pushing it towards a digital one.
Despite of all the digital push, the cash dependency among Indians is still relatively high. Industry experts
blame this on a lack of adequate payments acceptance infrastructure, especially in villages and small towns, in
spite of doubling of card payment terminals over last year. Overall, cash in circulation increased to Rs 16.3 lakh
crore in January, 2018 from about Rs 13.2 lakh crore in April, 2017 signaling regaining preference for cash
payments.
Payments technology riding on Jan Dhan, Aadhar, and Mobile (JAM trinity) has been touted to emerge as mode
of choice for people without credit or debit cards, and driving digital transactions in rural India.
All numbers in millions
Month (2017) No. of digital
transactions*
No. of POS
terminals
No. of UPI
transactions
No. of PPI
transactions
No. of credit,
debit card
transactions
April 909.6 2.61 7 89.2 231.1
May 926.55 2.69 9.16 91.3 233.4
June 920.2 2.77 10.15 84.7 232.4
July 938 2.84 11.44 88.7 237.6
August 964.4 2.88 16.6 89.7 243
September 958.6 2.9 30.7 87.5 240.3
October 1048.3 2.95 76.7 96.2 255.7
November 1081.58 2.99 104.8 92.8 244.6
December 1150.28 NA 145.4 99.1 263.9
Source: RBI, NPCI, * Includes RBI’s provisional figures along with Aadhar Enabled Payment System numbers from NPCI but does
not include electronic toll payments and other transactions for which data are not publicly available
909.6 926.55 920.2 938 964.4 958.6
1048.3 1081.58
1150.28
A
pril
M
ay
June
July
A
ugust
Septem
ber
O
ctober
N
ovem
ber
D
ecem
ber
0
200
400
600
800
1000
1200
1400
No. of digital transactions
No. of digital transactions (in millions)
Drawbacks of digital transactions:
i) Higher risk of identity theft - The biggest fear is the risk of identity theft. Since we are culturally not
attuned to digital transactions, even well-educated people run the risk of falling into phishing traps. With the
rising incidence of online fraud, the risk of hacking will only grow as more people hop on to the digital
platform.
ii) Losing phone - Since digital transactions are dependent on phone for most of the transactions on the move,
losing it can prove to be a double whammy. It can not only make people susceptible to identity theft, but can
also make people helpless in the absence of physical cash or any other payment option.
iii) Difficult for non tech-savvy - It’s a problem for the older people, who may suddenly find themselves
locked out of their accounts if they can’t download an app or don’t have cash. The digital medium may prove to
be a challenge for the tech-unfriendly people, who will need more time to adapt or the availability of other
options to conduct transactions.
iv) Overspending - While there is no denying the convenience of card or mobile wallet transactions, it could
open a spending trap for an unsuspecting population. According to behavioural finance theorists, the pain of
parting with money is felt more acutely if physical cash is used instead of a card. Hence, using digital payment
mechanisms could lead to overspending.
Discussion:
The growth streak of digital payments is likely to continue in the future. The next push to the adoption of digital
payments could come from relatively slow adopters such as the rural economy and the small and medium-sized
enterprises (SME) sector. Government incentives such as discounts on digital GST payments and set-up of
accelerator programmes will provide an added boost. A few specific cases may emerge in the space of business
to business (B2B payments, Electronic Clearance Service (ECS) mandates, equated monthly installments
(EMIs), person to government payments (P2G) in smart cities, etc. These are likely to have a positive impact on
transaction volume size going forward.
References
1) ADB. (2016). Accelerating financial inclusion in south-east Asia with digital finance. Technical report.
Asian Development Bank. Available at: http:// www.oliverwyman.com/content/dam/oliver-
wyman/v2/publications/2017/jan/Accelerating-financial-inclusion-in-south-east-asia.pdf
2) Caruana, J. (2016). Financial inclusion and the fintech revolution: Implications for supervision and
oversight. Conference remarks at the third GPFIFSI conference on standard-setting Bodies and
innovative financial inclusion - “new frontiers in the supervision and oversight of digital financial
services”
3) Cashless payments: Here are 10 major platforms for digital transactions (2017, July 25). In Money
Control. Retrieved July 15, 2018, from https://www.moneycontrol.com › NEWS › BUSINESS ›
PERSONAL FINANCE
4) CGAP (2015). What is Digital Financial Inclusion and Why Does it Matter? Available at:
http://www.cgap.org/blog/what-digital-financialinclusion-and-why-does-it-matter
5) Digital banking. In Wikipedia. Retrieved July 15, 2018, from
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Digital_banking
6) Digital India. In Wikipedia. Retrieved July 15, 2018, from https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Digital_India
7) Digital transactions on the rise but fall drastically short of 25-billion target (2018, January 31).
In Economic Times. Retrieved July 15, 2018, from https://economictimes.indiatimes.com › Industry ›
Banking/Finance › Finance
8) GPFI. (2016). G20 High-level principles for digital financial inclusion. Available at:
https://www.gpfi.org/sites/default/files/G20%20High%20Level%
20Principles%20for%20Digital%20Financial%20Inclusion.pdf
9) Here are the advantages of cashless payments and the pitfalls you should beware of (2016, December
12). In Economic Times. Retrieved July 14, 2018, from https://economictimes.indiatimes.com › Wealth ›
Spend
10) ITU. (2016). The Digital financial services ecosystem. Technical Report. ITU Focus Group. May.
Available at: https://www.itu.int/en/ITU-T/
focusgroups/dfs/Documents/09_2016/FINAL%20ENDORSED%20ITU%
20DFS%20Introduction%20Ecosystem%2028%20April%202016_format ted%20AM.pdf
11) Malady, L. (2016). Consumer protection issues for digital financial services in emerging markets.
Banking & Finance Law Review, 31(2), 389-401
12) Manyika, J., Lund, S., Singer, M., White, O., & Berry, C. (2016). Digital finance for all: Powering
inclusive growth in emerging economies. USA: McKinsey Global Institute. September
13) Scott, S. V., Van Reenen, J., & Zachariadis, M. (2017). The long-term effect of digital innovation on
bank performance: An empirical study of SWIFT adoption in financial services. Research Policy, 46(5),
984-1004
14) World Bank. (2014). Digital finance: Empowering the poor via new technologies, April 10. Available at:
http://www.worldbank.org/en/news/feature/ 2014/04/10/digital-finance-empowering-poor-new-
technologies

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Digitalization's Impact on Financial Transactions in India

  • 1.
  • 2. Digitalization and its impact on financial transactions in India Authors Raja Sarkar Ph.D. Scholar Department of Business Administration, Utkal University, Bhubaneswar & Dr. Sabyasachi Das Assistant Professor Department of Business Administration, Utkal University, Bhubaneswar E-mail id- rajasarkar71@gmail.com Mobile- 8777723100 Abstract Digitalalization is the adoption of various existing and developing technologies by organizations in consonance with the changes in internal operations as well as external relationship to provide better customer services and experiences efficiently and effectively. Projects such as Make in India and Digital India are now the buzzwords to a better and sustainable industrial and financial growth of our nation. Government is encouraging technology adoption/upgradation while providing connectivity with high speed bandwidth to bring together every nook and corner of the country. This has opened up the vast untapped market in India for digital connectivity. Digital payment services by banks like Unified Payments Infrastructure (UPI), Bharat Interface for Money (BHIM), mobile money, e-wallets have created a revolution of sorts in the Indian financial market. Adaptation and implementation of highly capital intensive global technologies, infrastructure and processes are vital in order to remain ahead of the curve. Transition in financial transactions such as data integrity, authentication (including third party authentication) and trust factors are gaining importance as a measure of customer safeguarding. Enhanced customer satisfaction and value through unified customer experiences, faster output, infinite banking volumes, financial inclusion, operational efficiencies, scale of economy etc. are being sought after, by leveraging digital technologies. Digitalization has improved the efficiency and customer experience in several fields including the financial transaction areas. The present paper will try to explore the impact of digitalization on financial transactions in India. Keywords: Digitalization, Payment, Banking, Transaction, Technology
  • 3. Introduction: Digital cash eliminates various problems associated with physical cash, such as misplacement or the potential for loss or damage. Additionally, digital cash can be traced and accounted for far more accurately in cases of disputes. As consumers find an increasing number of purchasing opportunities at their fingertips, there is less need to carry physical cash in their wallets. Other indications that demand for digital cash is growing are highlighted by the use of peer-to-peer payment systems such as PayPal and the rise of untraceable crypto- currencies such as bitcoin. Almost anything imaginable that can be paid with physical cash can theoretically be paid with the swipe of a bank card or mobile wallets. The problem is that the technology is still not omnipresent. The concept of an all digital cash economy is no longer just a futuristic dream but it's still unlikely to outdate physical cash in the near future. Digital banks are possible as a consumer option, but people may still have a need for physical cash in certain situations. ATMs help banks cut overhead, especially if they are available at various strategic locations beyond branch offices. Objectives: i) To understand what digitalization is all about ii) To find out the benefits of digitalization from both buyers and sellers point of view iii) To understand the present status of digiatalization in financial transactions in India’ iv) To understand the pitfalls associated with digital financial transactions Context: India has ushered in a new era in financial transactions by adopting digitalization. It made our lives easy, hassle free and much less complicated. Demonetization by the government gave it the fillip it required. In this context, this article is an attempt to understand how much progress India has made in adopting this new platform for financial transactions. Research problem: Digitalization can be considered a double edged sword. On one hand it makes our life easier by way of giving us freedom from the slow and often complex manual processes, but on the other hand it presents itself as a demon by way of various online frauds and scams which resulted in people losing their lives’ savings in the hands of people having evil intentions. But just like any other innovation, this can be used both as a welfare mechanism and as a weapon to make people bleed. India though slow in adopting digitalization, has started moving faster in finding their feet in this area. It’s important to find out the progress India has made in this aspect.
  • 4. Review of literature: Scott, Van Reenen, and Zachariadis (2017) examine the impact on bank performance of the adoption of SWIFT. They examine 6848 banks in 29 countries in Europe and the U.S. They find that the adoption of SWIFT (i) has large effects on profitability in the long-term; (ii) these profitability effects are greater for small banks than for large banks; and (iii) exhibits significant network effects on performance. Digital finance also benefits governments by providing a platform to facilitate increase in aggregate expenditure which subsequently generates higher tax revenue arising from increase in the volume of financial transactions (Manyika et al., 2016). For financial and monetary system regulators, digital financial inclusion also helps to reduce the amount of physical cash in circulation and is instrumental in reducing high inflation levels in developing and poor countries (GPFI, 2016). Digital financial inclusion can improve the welfare of individuals and businesses that have a reliable digital platform with which to access funds in their bank accounts to carry out financial transactions (CGAP, 2015). The theoretical underpinning for the relationship between digital finance and financial inclusion is the premise that a large amount of the excluded population owns (or have) a mobile phone, and that the provision of financial services via mobile phones and related devices can improve access to finance for the excluded population (World Bank, 2014). The ITU (2016) Focus Group report show that despite the benefits of digital financial services many countries in the developing world still face considerable challenges in attaining merchant acceptance of digital payments. Malady (2016) also argue that although consumers may have digital banking credentials to access the digital financial system, consumers in many emerging markets are not active users of the digital channels due to lack of consumer trust and confidence in the new channels. ADB (2016) show that the low level of financial literacy and low awareness of digital finance channels can reduce customers’ patronage of digital financial channels to perform basic financial platforms. The wide use of digital technologies has increased the pervasiveness and scale of cyber-attacks that pose significant threat to the security and privacy of customers' data on digital channels; and regulators' awareness of cyber risks could prompt regulators to rethink the trade-off between efficiency and security in financial services (Caruana, 2016).
  • 5. Research methodology: This work is based on literature review and various data related to digital financial transactions in India published by various research agencies. Secondary data has been used to carry out analysis and reaching conclusions. Digitalization: Digitalization is the use of digital technologies to change a business model and provide new revenue and value- producing opportunities. It is the process of moving to a digital business. Benefits of digitalization of financial transactions for service providers: i) Business efficiency - Not only do digital platforms improve interaction with customers and deliver their needs more quickly, they also provide methods for making internal functions more efficient. While banks have been at the forefront of digital technology at the consumer end for decades, they have not completely embraced all the benefits of middleware to accelerate productivity. ii) Cost savings - One of the keys for companies dealing in financial transactions is to cut costs through automated applications that replace redundant manual labor. Traditional financial transaction process is costly, slow and prone to human error, according to McKinsey & Company. Relying on people and paper also takes up office space, which runs up energy and storage costs. Digital platforms can reduce costs through the synergies of more qualitative data and faster response to market changes. iii) Increased accuracy - Traditional firms dealing in financial transactions that rely mainly on paper processing can have an error rate of up to 40%, which requires reworking. Coupled with lack of IT integration between branch and back office personnel, this problem reduces business efficiency. By simplifying the verification process, it's easier to implement IT solutions with business software, leading to more accurate accounting. Financial accuracy is crucial for firms to comply with government regulations. iv) Improved competitiveness - Digital solutions help manage marketing lists, allowing companies to reach broader markets and build closer relationships with tech savvy consumers. CRM platforms can track customer history and provide quick access to email and other forms of online communication. It's effective for executing customer rewards programs that can improve loyalty and satisfaction. v) Greater agility - The use of automation can speed up both external and internal processes, both of which can improve customer satisfaction. Following the collapse of financial markets in 2008, an increased emphasis was placed on risk management. Instead of organizations hiring and training risk management professionals, it's possible for risk management software to detect and respond to market changes more quickly than even seasoned professionals.
  • 6. vi) Enhanced security - All businesses big or small face a growing number of cyber threats that can damage reputations. Several financial organizations and tech firms have been hacked in the recent past. Companies can benefit from extra layers of security to protect data. Benefits of digitalization of financial transactions for customers: i) Convenience - The ease of conducting financial transactions is probably the biggest motivator to go digital. People no longer need to carry wads of cash, plastic cards, or even queue up for ATM withdrawals. It’s also a safer and easier spending option during travelling. ii) Discounts – The recent waiver of service tax on card transactions is one of the incentives provided by the government. Similarly, saving on rail tickets, highway toll, or purchase of insurance can help cut costs. Add to these the cashback offers and discounts offered by mobile wallets like Paytm, as well as the reward points and loyalty benefits on existing credit and store cards, and it could help improve people’s cash flow marginally. iii) Tracking Spends - If all transactions are on record, it will be very easy for people to keep track of their spending. It will also help while filing income tax returns and, in case of a scrutiny, people will find it easy to explain their spends. It will have a good impact on budgeting. iv) Budget discipline - The written record will help you keep tabs on your spending and this will result in better budgeting. “Various apps and tools will help people analyse their spending patterns and throw up good insights over a couple of years. v) Lower risk - If stolen, it is easy to block a credit card or mobile wallet remotely, but it’s impossible to get cash back. In that sense, the digital option offers limited security. This is especially true while travelling, especially abroad, where loss of cash can cause great inconvenience. Futuristic technologies like use of biometric ID (finger prints, eye scan, etc) can be extremely difficult to copy, making it a very safe option. vi) Small gains - Another plus is that people can pay the exact amount without worrying about not having change or getting it back from shopkeepers. The Digital India programme by government: Digital India is a campaign launched by the Government of India to ensure connecting rural areas with high- speed Internet networks and improving digital literacy. The main goal is to make Government services available to citizens electronically by improved online infrastructure and by increasing Internet connectivity or by making the country digitally empowered in the field of technology. The initiative includes plans to connect rural areas with high-speed internet networks. Digital India consists of three core components, (a) development of secure and stable digital infrastructure, (b) delivering government services digitally, and (c) universal digital literacy.
  • 7. Launched on 1st July, 2015 by Prime Minister Narendra Modi, it is both enabler and beneficiary of other key Government of India schemes, such as BharatNet, Make in India, Startup India and Standup India, Industrial corridors, Bharatmala, Sagarmala, Dedicated Freight Corridors and UDAN-RCS. The Government of India specifically targets nine 'Pillars of the Digital India' as follows: i) Broadband Highway, ii) Universal Access to Mobile connectivity, iii) Public Internet Access Programmed, iv) E-Governance, reforming Government through Technology, v) E-Kranti, electronic delivery of services, vi) Information for All, vii) Electronics Manufacturing, viii) IT for Jobs, ix) Early Harvest Programmes Some of the facilities which will be provided through this initiative are Bharat net, Digital Locker, e-education, e-health, e-sign, e-shopping and national scholarship portal. Major platforms for digital transactions: Digital payment platforms have eased cashless transactions, and have been especially popular since demonetisation. These platforms are capable of making payments in online as well as in offline mode. However, their features differ and citizens of the country should make the best use of them while making payments. Below are some of these cashless transaction making platforms and their features: i) NFC or MST transmission waves platform - Companies have come up with making transaction through NFC (Near Field Communication) and MST (Magnetic Secure Transmission) technology. Without swiping card through POS (Point of Sales) machines, payment can be easily made to merchants through its wireless transmitting magnetic waves. This facility by downloading MST enabled app and also, the phone should support NFC facility. Once it is done, after registering card details, contactless transactions can be made through phone on any of merchants’ POS terminal. ii) Sound based payments platform - Some companies have launched app with sound transmission fund transfer facility. This technology is only a software-driven application, and it does not require any hardware upradation on the ATMs to make use of it. This highly secured application makes contactless transactions through sound waves technology. Once this application is downloaded on smartphones and after registering the cards, this app can make payments from the phone at any POS machine through sound waves even though purchasers do not have physical cards along with them. This app also enables easy cardless cash withdrawal to the customers from ATMs. iii) Mobile Money Identifier - MMID is a seven digit unique number which is issued by the bank once a mobile number is registered. A person who wants to send money and the person who wants to receive that money should have MMID for the particular interbank funds transfer. However, through MMID, only a small amount (around Rs 10,000) within a day can be tranferred. Almost all banks are providing this facility of making small payments.
  • 8. iv) UPI App based payments platform - UPI has come up with a unique feature of creating virtual address through which money can be transferred without disclosing account number and IFS code to the receiver. UPI works on a real time basis which means the money is transferred instantaneously. UPI also supports the other medium of doing funds transfer. UPI facility is available with all the banking apps and almost all the other private and public banks. Now, most of the banks are embedding their UPI feature within their mobile banking app only. v) QR Code based payments system - QR code is again a different mechanism of making the transfer of payment where payers only need to scan the QR code of the merchant and do the transfer of payments. It is being mostly used by all the digital payments app like BHIM, other banking apps to make the transfer of payments easily. The black square holds the information about the items whereby scanning the code information gets transmitted automatically through the smartphone and payments get done. Bharat QR code has been launched by the government to push the digital payment initiative in all the way round. vi) USSD code payments system - If someone does not have a smartphone or internet facility, still payments can be made dialing USSD (Unstructured Supplementary Service Data) code even from basic phones and following certain instructions. It is a GSM-based technology where transactions take place through messages. It is a platform which forms a medium between the telecommunication and banking financial services altogether. For every banking app, there are different dialing code which need to be checked with service providers while making the transfer of payments. All telecom service providers have their own USSD codes. vii) Aadhaar enabled payment system - The Aadhaar payment app works on an Aadhaar Enabled Payment System (AEPS) facility, which is a bank-led model offering multiple financial services through Aadhaar number. Multiple bank accounts can be linked through Aadhaar Payment Bridge (APB) platform by which payments can be made from any of the customer’s accounts to the merchant. To make the best use of it, Aadhaar number needs to be linked with bank accounts. viii) Net banking payments platform - As the name suggests it simply means getting banking services online. This facility can be availed through mobile banking too. Net banking allows customers to carry out transactions without visiting the bank. Net banking helps in payments from anywhere using mobile banking app or just by logging in to banking websites. It provides three modes of payments. Firstly, NEFT, which takes time while transferring money. It runs the process in batches hence the time consumption is slightly more. If the receiver is not in a hurry to get funds then they can use NEFT. Secondly, IMPS helps in getting funds transferred on real time basis. When the required amount for transfer is bigger, RTGS facility can be used. ix) Digital wallet payment system - Money is loaded in digital wallets through this platform. However, the constraint is that fund can be transferred to the same wallet only. Some other e-wallets in the digital marketplace are Mobikwik, Freecharge, Oxigen, Reliance Money, Paypal, Buddy, Lime, Payzapp, Pocket, Yes Pay, etc.
  • 9. x) Magnetic stripped cards - These are magnetic strip cards in the form of debit or credit cards. People use these cards quite often for making payments. These cards can provide benefits of reward points per transaction and other cashback offers. These cards are usually offered by banks which are mainly powered by VISA, MasterCard or Rupay in case of India. Factors responsible for rise in digital payments over the last 12 months in India: i) Embedding of offline space in the business growth strategy - Offline space has evolved into the most recent battlefield for payment service providers. Banks have deployed almost 29 lakh POS terminals across the country, up by almost 95% from pre-demonetisation level. This space has also attracted the attention of UPI and PPI players, and many of them have developed innovative solutions to assist large merchant outlets, micro-merchants, cash on delivery payment facilitators of e-commerce firms, etc., in accepting payments seamlessly over mobile phones. Customers facing issues with cash availability post the note ban began to experiment with these digital payment modes. ii) Building of ecosystem around digital payments: Quite a few players rolled out multiple solutions allied with digital payments, which further helped in their adoption. A notable few were:  Integration of enterprise resource planning (ERP) of corporates with the UPI solution for real-time management information system (MIS) updates  Disbursement of instant loans based on the footprint generated by digital payments iii) Boost to interoperability: One of the most significant changes in the payments landscape is the push towards interoperability, with instruments such as UPI allowing transfers between 55 banks, independent of the acquirer payment service provider mobile app.The increasing adoption of the Bharat Bill Payment System (BBPS), Bharat QR and interoperability guidelines for PPI players will lend a further push to seamless, secure and interoperable payments. iv) Promotional efforts by players: Several payment processing firms and FinTech companies leveraged demonetisation to penetrate the market. In an effort to expand their market share, quite a few of them offered loyalty points, instant cashbacks and referral rewards to users. While some may have doubts about the long- term sustainability of such offers, the promotional efforts definitely provided an impetus to users considering a switch to digital payments. Growth of digital transactions in India- Results of the financial inclusion drive: According to data released by the Reserve Bank of India (RBI), digital transactions in the country have reportedly crossed the 1 billion mark in December, 2017 after recording nearly 1.06 billion transactions. There was a hike of about 6.5 percent in comparison to November, 2017 which had 998 million total digital transactions up to that point.
  • 10. Demonestisation decision in November, 2016 and widespread use of UPI (Unified Payment Interface) and other e-wallet services are strong driving factors of this jump in digital transactions in the past year or so. The RBI data shows that UPI alone has raised transactions by up to 40 percent month-on-month after it saw nearly 145.5 million transactions in December as compared to 104.8 million done in November. IMPS (Immediate Payment Service) also grew by 10 percent to see nearly 98 million transactions as compared to 9.5 million in November, 2017 said the report. Also, traditional transactions via card grew by about 8 percent month-on-month after debit and credit cards recorded nearly 264 million transactions in December as compared to 244.6 million in November, 2017. However, according to the RBI, the highest amount of card transactions has been 311 million transactions and they were carried out in December, 2016 post the cash-crunch period. This number is yet to be surpassed. The RBI report says that UPI transactions were only 2 million in December, 2016 and by December, 2017 that number had risen to 145.5 million. E-wallets like Paytm, PhonePe, Google's Tez and the BHIM app have played a big hand in shaping the economy from a cash-strapped one to progressively pushing it towards a digital one. Despite of all the digital push, the cash dependency among Indians is still relatively high. Industry experts blame this on a lack of adequate payments acceptance infrastructure, especially in villages and small towns, in spite of doubling of card payment terminals over last year. Overall, cash in circulation increased to Rs 16.3 lakh crore in January, 2018 from about Rs 13.2 lakh crore in April, 2017 signaling regaining preference for cash payments. Payments technology riding on Jan Dhan, Aadhar, and Mobile (JAM trinity) has been touted to emerge as mode of choice for people without credit or debit cards, and driving digital transactions in rural India. All numbers in millions Month (2017) No. of digital transactions* No. of POS terminals No. of UPI transactions No. of PPI transactions No. of credit, debit card transactions April 909.6 2.61 7 89.2 231.1 May 926.55 2.69 9.16 91.3 233.4
  • 11. June 920.2 2.77 10.15 84.7 232.4 July 938 2.84 11.44 88.7 237.6 August 964.4 2.88 16.6 89.7 243 September 958.6 2.9 30.7 87.5 240.3 October 1048.3 2.95 76.7 96.2 255.7 November 1081.58 2.99 104.8 92.8 244.6 December 1150.28 NA 145.4 99.1 263.9 Source: RBI, NPCI, * Includes RBI’s provisional figures along with Aadhar Enabled Payment System numbers from NPCI but does not include electronic toll payments and other transactions for which data are not publicly available 909.6 926.55 920.2 938 964.4 958.6 1048.3 1081.58 1150.28 A pril M ay June July A ugust Septem ber O ctober N ovem ber D ecem ber 0 200 400 600 800 1000 1200 1400 No. of digital transactions No. of digital transactions (in millions) Drawbacks of digital transactions: i) Higher risk of identity theft - The biggest fear is the risk of identity theft. Since we are culturally not attuned to digital transactions, even well-educated people run the risk of falling into phishing traps. With the rising incidence of online fraud, the risk of hacking will only grow as more people hop on to the digital platform. ii) Losing phone - Since digital transactions are dependent on phone for most of the transactions on the move, losing it can prove to be a double whammy. It can not only make people susceptible to identity theft, but can also make people helpless in the absence of physical cash or any other payment option.
  • 12. iii) Difficult for non tech-savvy - It’s a problem for the older people, who may suddenly find themselves locked out of their accounts if they can’t download an app or don’t have cash. The digital medium may prove to be a challenge for the tech-unfriendly people, who will need more time to adapt or the availability of other options to conduct transactions. iv) Overspending - While there is no denying the convenience of card or mobile wallet transactions, it could open a spending trap for an unsuspecting population. According to behavioural finance theorists, the pain of parting with money is felt more acutely if physical cash is used instead of a card. Hence, using digital payment mechanisms could lead to overspending. Discussion: The growth streak of digital payments is likely to continue in the future. The next push to the adoption of digital payments could come from relatively slow adopters such as the rural economy and the small and medium-sized enterprises (SME) sector. Government incentives such as discounts on digital GST payments and set-up of accelerator programmes will provide an added boost. A few specific cases may emerge in the space of business to business (B2B payments, Electronic Clearance Service (ECS) mandates, equated monthly installments (EMIs), person to government payments (P2G) in smart cities, etc. These are likely to have a positive impact on transaction volume size going forward. References 1) ADB. (2016). Accelerating financial inclusion in south-east Asia with digital finance. Technical report. Asian Development Bank. Available at: http:// www.oliverwyman.com/content/dam/oliver- wyman/v2/publications/2017/jan/Accelerating-financial-inclusion-in-south-east-asia.pdf 2) Caruana, J. (2016). Financial inclusion and the fintech revolution: Implications for supervision and oversight. Conference remarks at the third GPFIFSI conference on standard-setting Bodies and innovative financial inclusion - “new frontiers in the supervision and oversight of digital financial services” 3) Cashless payments: Here are 10 major platforms for digital transactions (2017, July 25). In Money Control. Retrieved July 15, 2018, from https://www.moneycontrol.com › NEWS › BUSINESS › PERSONAL FINANCE 4) CGAP (2015). What is Digital Financial Inclusion and Why Does it Matter? Available at: http://www.cgap.org/blog/what-digital-financialinclusion-and-why-does-it-matter 5) Digital banking. In Wikipedia. Retrieved July 15, 2018, from https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Digital_banking 6) Digital India. In Wikipedia. Retrieved July 15, 2018, from https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Digital_India
  • 13. 7) Digital transactions on the rise but fall drastically short of 25-billion target (2018, January 31). In Economic Times. Retrieved July 15, 2018, from https://economictimes.indiatimes.com › Industry › Banking/Finance › Finance 8) GPFI. (2016). G20 High-level principles for digital financial inclusion. Available at: https://www.gpfi.org/sites/default/files/G20%20High%20Level% 20Principles%20for%20Digital%20Financial%20Inclusion.pdf 9) Here are the advantages of cashless payments and the pitfalls you should beware of (2016, December 12). In Economic Times. Retrieved July 14, 2018, from https://economictimes.indiatimes.com › Wealth › Spend 10) ITU. (2016). The Digital financial services ecosystem. Technical Report. ITU Focus Group. May. Available at: https://www.itu.int/en/ITU-T/ focusgroups/dfs/Documents/09_2016/FINAL%20ENDORSED%20ITU% 20DFS%20Introduction%20Ecosystem%2028%20April%202016_format ted%20AM.pdf 11) Malady, L. (2016). Consumer protection issues for digital financial services in emerging markets. Banking & Finance Law Review, 31(2), 389-401 12) Manyika, J., Lund, S., Singer, M., White, O., & Berry, C. (2016). Digital finance for all: Powering inclusive growth in emerging economies. USA: McKinsey Global Institute. September 13) Scott, S. V., Van Reenen, J., & Zachariadis, M. (2017). The long-term effect of digital innovation on bank performance: An empirical study of SWIFT adoption in financial services. Research Policy, 46(5), 984-1004 14) World Bank. (2014). Digital finance: Empowering the poor via new technologies, April 10. Available at: http://www.worldbank.org/en/news/feature/ 2014/04/10/digital-finance-empowering-poor-new- technologies