It has a month since Prime Minister Narendra Modi announced a revolutionary scheme that changed the face of digital India. Demonetisation, a scheme that not only provided a boost to cashless transactions in the country but also raised hopes of curbing black money and fake currency, diseases that have plagued the country for decades now.
Cashless wallets, empty ATMs and serpentine queues outside the banks- that has been the state of affairs since PM Modi made the announcement regarding demonetisation on November 8, 2016, at 8:15 pm in an unscheduled TV address. While common man has been on the receiving end of this scheme, it’s the mobile wallets that have benefitted the most.
Two weeks after the announcement, India’s most popular mobile wallet, PayTM said that it registered over 7 million transactions in a day. The company further added that it added over 5 million new users and that over 150 million people were using its services.
Another popular mobile wallet, MobiKwik too registered an increase in the number of transactions and customer base. A day after PayTM’s big revelations, the company announced that it registered 7000 percent increase in bank transfers and an 18-fold increase in the number of transactions. The company further added that it witnessed a 40 percent increase in its mobile application downloads and its user traffic and merchant queries have also gone up by 200 percent.
Freecharge too witnessed a similar trend. The Snapdeal-owned mobile wallet said that its wallet load grew by 12 folds within first 24 hours of the announcement and that it’s average remained the same in the days that followed.
The trend till now has been such that the online sales spike up near the festive season and e-commerce websites cash-in the benefits by offering bumper sales and special offers. But November proved to be a trend breaker in this regard as online transaction increased exponentially in the days following the announcement regarding demonetisation owing to the cash crunch in the country. Not only did the public turn to e-wallets for help, businesses too have integrated their services on these mobile wallets giving customers huge discounts and more importantly flexibility to use their money.
While PayTM said that it had expanded its merchant network by adding 1,50,000 additional merchants, the story remained similar for Mobiqwik as well.
To reap in the benefits of what can loosely be described as an existential crisis, these e-wallets widened their vistas and introduced dexterity to their platforms. While MobiKwik launched a ‘Lite’ version of its online app to facilitate transactions in areas with poor connectivity, PayTM too introduced a number of schemes like- charging no fee for money transfers from PayTM to bank accounts, launching peer-to-peer payment systems for merchants and increasing the e-wallet limit to Rs 1 Lakh for people completing the process of PayTM KYC.
Needless to say that PM Modi’s demonetisation proved to be an early Christmas surprise for these mobile wallets.