There has been a rise of 96 percent and 27 percent in volume and value respectively in AePS withdrawals (Aadhaar ATMs) at Kirana outlets across the country during the lockdown. This growth was a direct result of the various relief funds disbursed by the Government to support citizens during the pandemic and was primarily led by rural and semi-urban areas, which witnessed a growth of 61 percent and 60 percent in transaction volumes.
While there was a minor blip (less than 2 percent) in the overall gross transaction value of assisted digital transactions at retail stores in the initial months of the lockdown, transaction volumes saw a huge spurt of more than 45 percent in the same period.
By August end, as migrants started moving back to their work locations and India entered into an unlocking phase, the overall gross transactional value of digital transactions at retail outlets saw a revival and growth. The average monthly gross transaction value (GTV) grew by more than 17 percent, while transactional volumes dipped by about 7 percent.
During this period, Domestic Money Transfer (DMT), or the amount of money migrant workers send home, saw a sharp decline of more than 85 percent in the first two months, and started picking up again by late July.
Similarly, during the lockdown phase, owing to strict social distancing norms and getting a moratorium even on bill payments, people avoided stepping out of their homes to pay their bills, on account of which utility bill payments at Kirana stores witnessed a clear drop of 23 percent in GTV. In the unlock phase, however, these transactions picked up by almost 67 percent in volumes and 76 percent in value.
Interestingly, the demand for micro ATMs/m-POS instruments at retail outlets across the country witnessed a whopping rise of 67 percent in the unlock phase.
Also, 48 percent of the total transactions were registered at Kirana stores between 7 AM to 2 PM. A significant amount of transactions, almost to the tune of 52 percent were registered during the non-banking time zone.
These insights were revealed in a report titled ‘Retail-O-Nomics’, released by PayNearby.
Commenting on the report findings, Anand Kumar Bajaj, MD & CEO, PayNearby, said, “India was future-proofed by NPCI and Nandan with AEPS. The fact that during the lockdown, 115 Mn debit cards were out of the system due to non-compliance with CHIP & PIN guidelines, but AEPS came as a BCP for ATM, helping people access the essential money remitted by the Government of India. The same is reflected in our data, where the disbursal of Direct Benefit Transfer (DBT) wouldn’t have been possible without AEPS withdrawal facility in the region.”