Use new payment modes to beat the cash crunch
The shortage of cash caused by demonetisation has probably forced you to stand in long queues at banks and ATMs. As far as possible, minimise your use of cash and shift to digital modes of payments. Also, make use of other fintech innovation to deal with your cash-starved situation.
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Use a mobile wallet: Download a mobile wallet app on your phone, transfer money from your bank account into it and start using it. All you need to do at a shop is to point your phone at the QR code, scan it, enter the amount to be paid and pay. One problem you could face with wallets is that different merchants accept payments from different wallets. An integrator app like Woohoo can help in this respect, as it allows you to make payments at retailers that accept any of these three wallets: Oxigen, Citrus Cash and PayuMoney. You will also be able to pay at all the retail establishments that Woohoo has partnered.
Accept payments via mobile wallets: Businessmen, too, need to climb on the mobile wallet bandwagon for accepting payment. To receive large sums, the merchant’s wallet needs to be KYC (Know Your Customer)-compliant. “Once the wallet is KYC-compliant, a merchant can accept payments up to Rs 1 lakh," says Pramod Saxena, chairman and managing director, Oxigen Services India. To transfer money from the wallet to a bank account without limits, merchants should use the Unified Payment Interface (UPI).
Wallet provider FreeCharge has waived both the set-up fee and transaction commission for a limited period for new merchants (credit card companies deduct two-four per cent on each transaction).
Use micro-ATMs: If you have old Rs 500 and Rs 1,000 notes and wish to deposit these while avoiding long queues, one alternative is to use a micro-ATM, offered by IDFC Bank and Oxigen. You probably know someone, say, a household help who has recently moved to the city, and whose bank branch is in her village. Such people can use these micro-ATMs, as the latter accept old currency notes from customers belonging to any bank or branch, provided they have an Aadhaar card.
Customers of all banks can also withdraw money from a micro-ATM. New accounts can also be opened. “Provided you have an Aadhaar card, we can open a bank account within four minutes, in a totally paperless manner," says an IDFC Bank official. This facility can again be useful for recent migrants who have an Aadhaar card but not a bank account. One drawback is that the number of micro-ATMs is limited.
Find a functional ATM near you: Many people have begun ATM-hopping after midnight in the hope of finding one that has cash and is not crowded. Walnut, a personal finance app, has added a feature that provides these bits of information. When a customer who has downloaded the Walnut app receives an SMS alert from his bank after he withdraws cash at an ATM, the information is shared with Walnut. The app then asks the customer: Which bank did you use, and was the queue long or short? The information provided is then shared with all users of the app. “The ATM’s location is shown on a map. If the colour is green, it indicates that it was used within the past one hour," says Anurag Sinha, co-founder and chief business officer, Walnut.
Use alternatives to cash-on-delivery: Around 70 per cent of payment to e-commerce companies happens through cash-on-delivery. With customers starved for cash, this mode of payment has ground to a halt. FeeCharge and Snapdeal are now offering “wallet on delivery". You can now pay from your FeeCharge wallet after receiving a product you ordered from Snapdeal.
eBay has tied up with Oxigen to offer retail-assisted e-commerce service. A customer who does not have access to net banking, debit or credit card can walk into an Oxigen-enabled store equipped with micro-ATMs. He can deposit his old currency notes, and with the retailer’s help place an order for a product on eBay.
Use virtual and prepaid cards: Another option is a virtual card. Oxigen, for instance, allows customers to create a Visa card. Normally, you can get a Visa card only if you are a bank customer. Here, you can bypass the bank route and still get a Visa card, which increases your payment options online.
Due to shortage of cash, many payments have to be done via plastic money. You may feel hesitant to hand over your credit or debit card to your household help to conduct a transaction where you will not be present in person. But you can hand over a prepaid card which has a limited amount of money in it. “If you don’t have the cash to gift at a wedding, you can use a prepaid gift card," suggests Pratap TP, co-founder, chief marketing officer, Qwikcilver.