India, many concur, is a country of paradoxes. This holds true even when one looks at the financial sector. While millennials are fast adopting online payment options, an enormous section of India’s population doesn’t own a bank account.
The times, however, are changing.
There has been a visible transformation in the way people transact and access money, not just in urban India, but in rural pockets as well.
So, how is this change being brought about? The first factor is the government’s unwavering will to ensure social transformation at the grassroots. Post demonetisation, and the government’s decisive push towards digital transactions, there has been a noticeable shift in the adoption of cashless transactions. According to Morgan Stanley, digital payments have tripled to 7% of GDP in just three years.
The second factor is the availability of multiple breakthrough technologies—AI, IoT, and Robotics—which can be combined to deliver a localised, highly relevant and user-friendly system. The challenge is to devise simple solutions that can benefit a tech-savvy millennial and equally ease life for a village entrepreneur who dropped out of school before fifth grade.
Mobile phones, e-wallets and smart card payment options are also showing growth across urban and rural India.
Cash, however, is still a widely preferred option for both businesses and consumers. In fact, any holistic plan to modernise the financial landscape involves delivering solutions for both cash and cashless trades.
Hitachi- Partnering India’s social transformation
Hitachi, the leading Japanese conglomerate with a notable global footprint and a forerunner in digital innovation, is committed to transforming lives in India. Over the years, the Hitachi group has diversified and expanded through 28 group companies in India, across sectors such as infrastructure, railways, energy, construction machinery, healthcare, IT, automotive systems, along with payment solutions.
Its dual strength in Information Technology (IT) and Operational Technology (OT), strengthened by its Social Innovation Business, makes way for a more digitally connected India. In the past, the group has developed solutions in the areas of urbanisation, water management, sustainable transportation, security, and smart manufacturing. Their credentials have also led them to partner in the mission of transforming India’s financial landscape.
At the helm of the metamorphic shift that’s underway, Bharat Kaushal, Managing Director of Hitachi India, predicts that “society will change much more than we ever imagined".
Paving new paths in payments
The World Bank has long stressed the urgent need for emerging economies to adopt digitalisation, to expedite economic growth and ensure individual financial empowerment. In terms of economic growth, digital transformation is expected to add an estimated $154 billion to Indian GDP, according to the International Data Corporation. The positive social ramifications for a developing country are manifold. There is expectedly greater transparency, traceability of remittances and significantly more accountability linked to social transfers.
Today, India and Hitachi are partnering in the way products and services are consumed and paid for. Hitachi has been playing at the forefront of the evolution of both cash and digital payment solutions that are prevalent in India.
Hitachi Payment Services (HPY) is a leading provider of ATM services – Bank & White Label, ATM software platforms and Cash Recycling Machines (CRM), a new innovation in the ATM segment. Operational as well as cost-efficient, the CRM is a better alternative to the traditional ATM and assists banks in its automation strategy. It manages over 45,000 ATMs and 13,000 CRMs on a nationwide basis. That’s roughly one-fourth of the total ATMs in India. According to the National Financial Switch Product (NFS), there were 2,39,321 ATMs across India in July 2018. In rural areas, with only 10 ATMs per lakh people, there’s still a long way to go.
On the digital side, besides being a leading provider of end-to-end POS processing services, it offers end-to-end e-commerce processing services, merchant aggregator solutions and card issuance solutions. HPY has over 9,00,000 point of sale (POS) devices (including mobile POS) under management in India.
HPY has recently, in 2018, entered into an agreement to form a joint venture (JV) with India’s largest bank, State Bank of India for establishing a card acceptance and digital payment platform. The JV will provide various payment options to customers & merchants focusing on the rollout of a nationwide card acceptance infrastructure, Quick Response (QR) code acceptance, Unified Payment Interface, mass-transit sector & e-commerce business.
Hitachi’s Digital India Stack Solutions enable transaction processing of UPI, Aadhar and BBPS payments, facilitating the rapid growth of digital payments throughout the country. With the plethora of initiatives, a radical transformation is slowly making its presence felt.
In urban India, Hitachi’s Toll & Transit solutions provide commuters with an experience that blends the convenience of travel with the security of payments. In rural India, Jan Dhan accounts are being integrated with the direct benefit transfers of government incentives, for over 30 crore beneficiaries.
Over a billion transactions occur in India daily, through cash or a digital platform. Hitachi is transforming the ease with which these happen, to enable greater financial empowerment for all.
To learn more about the initiatives, please click here.