A QR code at a roadside food stall in Mumbai, India, allows customers to make instant payments with their phones. Photo Credit: Atul Loke for The New York Times

SocietyTechnology India22. March 2023

No Fee Scan-and-Pay for All: Easier Life, Stronger Economy

The world’s second most populous country has embraced an instant payment system that completely revolutionized Indian commerce, facilitating transactions for big and small businesses alike, and simplifying the life of millions of citizens.

“Our digital payments ecosystem has been developed as a free public good,” explains Prime Minister Narendra Modi. “This has radically transformed governance, financial inclusion and ease of living in India.”

Through QR codes, citizens are using the scan-and-pay system to make all types of transactions with nearly 50% being small or micropayments. The digital infrastructure initiative – qualified as a set of “rail tracks,” laid by the government, on top of which innovation can happen at low cost – began in 2009 with a campaign to deliver a unique identification number, called Aadharr, to every citizen. Today, 99% of adults have a biometric identification number with 1.3 billion IDs issued. A total of 300 million individuals and 50 merchants are using the Unified Payments Interface (UPI) which offers services from hundreds of banks, and dozens of mobile payment apps, with absolutely no transaction fees. Thanks to identity numbers, bank accounts, and mobile phone apps – the pillars of digital infrastructure – services are delivered in an easier way. India hopes to export this public-private model since its inception and has proven how rapid technological innovation can have a tremendous impact on developing nations and spur economic growth. The UPI has made daily life more convenient, expanded banking services to a more significant number of citizens, and extended the reach of government programs and tax collection.

The New York Times

:::::: Related Articles

Back to top button