India's Cash-Only Bus Counter Payments Going Digital

by Wrik Sen    Nov 03, 2016

Electronic payment


Mobile payment and e-commerce platform Paytm has enabled cashless payments in what was so far a cash-only sector: unreserved bus ticket counters. Ticket counter staff can now look past the hassles of dealing with loose change, and the delays associated with it. Travelers will now be able to pay at inter-city bus counters with their Paytm Wallets, bringing in a marked change in the system, which has been largely dependent on cash and been unorganized, even after the advent of digital payments through credit and debit cards.

With this development, the entire payment process will be easier and hassle free. Paytm users can simply scan the Paytm QR Code and send the exact amount to book their bus tickets. The entire process is now digitized with records of transactions in a jiffy at zero transaction fee.

Electronic payments are becoming the global norm, and it’s proportion vis-a-vis the cash payments, is on the incremental climb. According to data available on WeForum, in 2015, there was an estimated $15 trillion worth of payments received by MSMR’s (Micro Small and Medium Retailers) through the digital space, on a worldwide scale. The trend is now clearly observed in India as more people get on board for the task of transferring money electronically. 

Kiran Vasireddy, Vice-President at Paytm said, “With this use case, Paytm has achieved a breakthrough in bringing digital payments to the unreserved bus ticketing sector. This is only a sneak peek into how the convenience of Mobile Wallets can revolutionise the transport sector. Going forward, we will enable the Paytm Wallet at various state owned as well as private operators to drive our vision of making payments cashless across India.”

After Kiran Vasireddy’s words, it is amply clear, that industry is indeed embracing the ‘electronic payment transfer’ transformation, though doing so at a slower pace, subjectively speaking. Similar is the case of ‘Ola Money’, a digital wallet system, whereby customers can pay Ola cab services after booking of the taxi or auto rickshaw, and eventual completion of the journey, by also using a 4-digit OTP number which is sent to them on their phones. By using the OTP, the exact amount of journey fare is directly transferred to the service provider without having to worry about precise change issues, etc. By now, the question arises, what benefits would the enterprise and industry stand to gain through the process of accepting payments.

- Quicker and hassle free payments: Though cashless and e-wallet payments make it easier and quicker for consumers to transact, the exact same benefit comes to the industry/service provider as well. Since digital payment transfers take a few seconds to conclusively take place, it makes the entire transaction quicker and more transparent, without having for the industry to check and balance for details.

- Lesser transactional costs: For merchants or companies who accept cash payments, there are additional costs of transacting in physical cash, as compared to electronic payment transfers. As pointed in report in Enterprise Innovation, authored by Jagdish Mitra, Chief Strategy Officer of Tech Mahindra, usually for sellers have to engage a third party to collect cash payments, or offer cash remittance options, which add to the costs of the seller.

- Relationship building with customers and retailers alike: With the use of digital payments, when the entire process is virtually simultaneous, the relationship building process also works on a similar route. After transactions are carried out, companies can put in reward points to the customer account, which further incentivices the customer to shop further in the future, perhaps with a lower cost or added value points. This way, a regular seamless transaction is carried out for relationship building, that too in a transparent manner, as there is record in print about the entire process taking place.