How Digital Payment was leveraged during COVID times?

In the initial phase of the pandemic, when there was a complete lockdown for a fairly long period, banking-related services were declared as essential services. Digital payment was the only convenient mode in such a situation.

Pay Point is a major banking and payments service provider through the digital mode in the country with over 50,000 outlets across the country, most of which are in rural and semi-urban locations. 

In the initial phase of the pandemic, when there was complete lockdown for a fairly long period, banking related services were declared as essential services. However, it was difficult for the people to travel to the nearest bank branch, especially in the rural area. Also, as the bank branches avoided crowding and allowed only a limited number of customers, most of their customers were diverted to a nearby Pay Point outlet which was always ready to serve them. The digital payment was the only convenient mode in such a situation.

Those who could transact themselves digitally used this mode even more because of the lockdown and fear of the disease. This did result in an increase in digital payments, but only a little bit because they were already using this mode to some extent, even in the past. However, due to the pandemic, payments became a challenge for those who could not transact digitally themselves. Onboarding them on the digital payment platform in a big way resulted in a huge upsurge in digital payments.

Pay Point took up the task of providing digital payment services to the under-served, poor people as a social and national service. The government provided monetary relief to women, farmers, old widows, etc. by crediting money in their accounts through Direct Benefit Transfer. But, of what use that money would be if the account-holders could not withdraw it?

Pay Point used its network to provide digital payment through its Aadhaar Enabled Payment System and through its microATMs in a safe and secure manner somewhere nearby their residences. In fact, when floods in Brahmaputra also started ravaging Assam during the same period of lockdown and many villages were totally cut off, Pay Point used to provide payment services in those villages even by sailing on a local boat daily through the dangerous waters with the required gadgets for digital payment.

Those days also witnessed a unique phenomenon of reverse remittance from rural areas to the urban and metro centres. In normal times, the migrant labour at large centres would send money to their relatives in villages. During the lockdown, however, their sources of earning dried up and many of them were stuck in the cities/ metros without any money with them. In such a situation, their relatives at rural centres had to send money to them for their sustenance. Pay Point outlets helped them by remitting money real time digitally from villages and making payments at the urban/ metro locations to the payees.

In addition to this, Pay Point also helped the people in fulfilling some of their small but essential needs. But for the existence of a nearby Pay Point outlet, People would have found it extremely difficult to conduct their otherwise easy transactions such as recharging their mobile phones/ DTH TV connections, payment of utility bills, etc. 

Pay Point had foreseen the difficulties of lockdown a few days before it was actually imposed and had prepared for it well in advance. The back-office staff were given the required amenities for working from home so that there was no disruption of service. All the services, viz. banking, payments, utilities bills payments, mobile/ DTH/ OTT recharges, insurance premium payments, ticketing, etc. have been running smoothly throughout the pandemic times. Even the call centre staff worked from home and provided support to the outlets/ customers. The frontline people were trained to ensure hand washing, maintain distance, and wearing mask.

All these efforts also resulted in enhanced business and higher income for the company. However, more valuable than these results is the fact that our valued customers, most of whom belong to the bottom of the pyramid, see Pay Point as a dependable and trusted partner who will always extend a helping hand in times of need. This is the greatest reward that Pay Point has got in these difficult times.  

Disclaimer: The views expressed in the article above are those of the authors' and do not necessarily represent or reflect the views of this publishing house