Card payments in smaller towns and villages to get a push

The RBI has announced the set-up of an “Acceptance Development Fund” in consultation with the stakeholders. The ADF is being created to promote and encourage card usage across the country.  The RBI is looking to extend digital and card facilities to smaller towns, villages and to create appropriate shared infrastructure. The RBI is looking to operationalize the framework by December 2019. The ADF will help to subsidise acquirers for deploying PoS acceptance infrastructure in tier-3 to tier-6 centers. This would help in facilitating innovation and reducing cost of such transactions.
 
At the moment, card acceptance infrastructure is well set up in large cities but has not penetrated into smaller towns. Digital payments (credit and debit card both) will become easier for people to adopt as their main means of payment once this infrastructure to accept and enable payments becomes widely available in smaller towns. In its vision document 'Payment and Settlement Systems in India: Vision – 2019-2021', released in May 2019, the RBI said that one of the expected outcomes of Vision 21 would be “increased deployment of card acceptance infrastructure across the country including at smaller centres with a substantial portion of the infrastructure taking care of processing contactless card payments.” Given the current growth trend the RBI expected to have 5 mn active PoS by end 2021; digital PoS (QR code) is also expected to increase substantially; and the total card acceptance infrastructure will be upscaled to six times present levels by end 2021.
 
This is expected to support aim of cash-lite economy and also shift Cash on Delivery (CoD) transactions to digital modes for e-commerce.
 
 The Vision 21 report mentioned that “Domestic cards have stabilised well and the potential for their large-scale use is high. Efforts will be made to increase the scope, coverage and usage of domestic cards, including the RuPay card scheme which was launched in March 2012. Collaborative effort will be initiated among NPCI, banks and the Government to widen and deepen the scope / usage of RuPay cards to enhance its brand value internationally.”

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