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Our Reflections from the Analysis of Data from CUTS on Accessibility & Experience of Digital Payments in India

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Digital transactions have witnessed a massive spurt in India. Post-demonetisation in India in November 2016, a transaction volume surge has been noted across Immediate Payment Service (IMPS), mobile-based wallets and debit and credit cards (Pani, 2018). Compared to 2013, digital transactions have increased by 34.7 transactions per capita in 2020. Yet, per capita transactions in India are much lower when compared to other BRICS countries (Reserve Bank of India, 2019; Deb, 2019). Recently, the COVID-19 pandemic and the related measures of locking down entire cities and countries disrupted everyday lives and processes. This increased the gaps in the existing digital payment ecosystem as well as the vulnerability of low-income citizens being unable to access cash to sustain their day-to-day activities.

It is in this context that the Consumer Unity & Trust Society (CUTS) conducted a survey on consumers’ and merchants’ perspectives on the Accessibility and Experience of Digital Payments in Urban and Rural IndiaThe study aims to understand the adoption of digital payments by consumers and merchants across selected Indian states. Through this study, CUTS sought to understand consumers’ and merchants’ awareness, usage, experience and challenges to adoption of digital payments. From these findings, the study aims to formulate suitable reforms for deepening digital payments among Indian consumers and merchants. Their findings, which were also presented to the Reserve Bank of India’s High-Level Committee on Deepening of Digital Payments, is available here.

The survey was conducted in five Indian states between January – March 2018. CUTS generously provided the data from their survey to Dvara Research. We had a chance to look at the data and draw some insights given our work in financial inclusion and the impact of digital payments to enhance the same. The findings from this data set are relevant in providing a landscape of the adoption and use of digital payments in India.

In this data brief based on survey data received from CUTS, we present reflections to understand the following questions:


  1. Who are the users of digital payment services?
  2. Which digital payment services are more used?
  3. What are the issues being faced by users of digital payment services?
  4. What is the change in the experience of consumers who use digital payment services?
  5. What are the key constraints that people face in adopting or using digital payment services?


Countries across the world have seen an increase in financial inclusion, particularly over the past decade (World Economic Forum, 2019). However, it has been noted as a significant disadvantage for people with lesser access to digital technologies which could have cascading effects. As more services move towards digital forms of payment, people who have already been on the back footing with regards to adoption and usage of digital technologies might become even more marginalised (World Economic Forum, 2019). With this survey, CUTS attempt to tease out the nuances of the challenges Indian consumers and merchants face when trying to use different digital payment modes and why, despite several active efforts taken by the government, the reliance on non-digital payment modes seems prevalent. This data brief focuses on the consumer survey findings.

Read more in the complete data brief here.

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