Digital transactions declined in April, RBI data shows

According to provisional data from the RBI, April saw total digital transactions of Rs109.58 trillion, down 26.78% from Rs149.58 trillion in March


Digital transactions include transactions conducted via credit and debit cards, unified payments interface (UPI), internet banking and mobile banking. Photo: Saumya Khandelwal/ HT
Digital transactions include transactions conducted via credit and debit cards, unified payments interface (UPI), internet banking and mobile banking. Photo: Saumya Khandelwal/ HT

New Delhi: Digital transactions in April fell in terms of both value and volume, data for the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) showed.

April saw total digital transactions of Rs109.58 trillion, down 26.78% from Rs149.58 trillion in March, according to provisional data from the Reserve Bank of India (RBI). The value is still the second highest after the peak recorded in March.

Digital transactions include transactions conducted via credit and debit cards, unified payments interface (UPI), unstructured supplementary service data (USSD), prepaid payment instruments (PPIs), internet banking and mobile banking.

The number of digital transactions fell too, declining 5.63% from 893.9 million in March to 843.5 million in April. The highest volume was recorded in December—957.5 million.

Transactions across UPI hit 6.9 million in April—a record—against 6.2 million the previous month. In terms of value, there was around 8% decline, from Rs23.9 billion in March to Rs22 billion in April. Since December, UPI transaction volumes are up about 252%.

Transactions through UPI and USSD received a major stimulus from the government after Prime Minister Narendra Modi launched the BHIM (Bharat Interface for Money) app on 30 December. BHIM has already witnessed close to 20 million downloads, according to Amitabh Kant, CEO of NITI Aayog.

Also, usage of PPIs such as mobile wallets made a new record in terms of value of transactions. Transactions worth Rs22.3 billion were recorded in April against Rs21.5 billion in the previous month.

Debit and credit card usage in April at point of sale machines declined by around 3.5% to 221.5 million transactions from 229.7 million in the previous month.

USSD transactions also declined to 188.9 million in April from 211.2 million in March. The volume of transactions fell by around 6% from February to March and by around 11% from March to April.

Payment volumes using National Electronic Funds Transfer (NEFT) and Real Time Gross Settlement (RTGS) declined by around 23.32% and 24%, respectively in April from March.

Also, mobile banking transactions fell marginally by around 2% from 60.8 million transactions in March to 59.6 million in April.

“We were expecting the volumes to go up further, given the improvement in the acceptance infrastructure for digital payments in the last three months. Around a million more PoS machines have been installed by banks and now, consumers are actually given options to choose from while making payments digitally,” said Deepak Bhutra, chief executive officer of India Transact Services, a merchant payment solutions firm.

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