Braving the Cash Crunch: Here’s How To Go Cashless #NoteBandi
In light of PM Modi’s demonetisation drive, India’s cashless economy is getting a huge fillip. A sector that has grown quite steadily so far is witnessing a massive gold rush. There are multiple ways you can save yourself from the shortage of cash, but this might involve changing your spending habits, merchants and even making a few lifestyle changes. Let’s take a look at the most viable options to go cashless and how to save yourself stress and time.
Option No.1 - Debit/Credit card and Net Banking
This might sound like the most obvious choice to go cashless, but there are millions of bank account holders in India who don’t use their debit cards apart from at ATMs. Debit & credit cards have the most widespread infrastructure, with card swipe machines all over the world.
If you have been avoiding the net banking ‘siyapa’ because, ‘itni mehnat kaun karega, cash hai na’, now might be a good time. If you have a bank account and a debit card, with any bank, public or private, you can avail of net banking. You will have to register for the service (you can do this even at an ATM) and depending on what bank you have an account in, follow the procedure to get a net banking username, password and PIN.
Net banking is extremely convenient to make online purchases at e-commerce sites, travel bookings, mobile recharge and paying utility bills. The one area where net banking can be a struggle is transferring money to another person. Typically, this requires knowledge of the recipient’s bank account number and IFSC code. Once you add a new payee, you can transfer money within 30 minutes. While RTGS and NEFT lets you transfer money during banking hours ie 9-5, IMPS lets you transfer money to anybody 24 X 7. Net banking can be done on desktops or via bank mobile apps.
Option No. 2: Digital Wallets - Paytm, FreeCharge, Mobikwik
Fintech startups popularly known as digital wallets seem to be the biggest benefactors of Modi’s demonetisation. Companies such as Paytm, FreeCharge, Mobikwik, Ola Money, PayUMoney and CitrusPay are seeing a huge jump in the number of transactions and users since the move. A digital wallet is as good as the number of shops and establishments that accept payment on that platform.
Using these e-wallets is quite simple. Download the app, on Android or iPhones, make a new account, set it up by linking it to your bank account and deposit money in the e-wallet. RBI has revised the monthly wallet limit for digital wallets from Rs 10,000 to Rs 20,000 and Rs 50,000 for merchants. This is a huge push for cashless transactions using e-wallets.
The biggest digital wallet company in India, Paytm has shared that they’re witnessing over 7 million daily transactions worth approximately Rs 120 crores.
The biggest advantage of Paytm right now is that over 1 million merchants use the service to accept payments from users. Taxis, autos, petrol pumps, Kirana shops, sabziwalas, restaurants, multiplexes, parking lots accept payments via Paytm now. In case you’re wondering if the shop or restaurant you’re going to accepts Paytm, their Android app features a very useful ‘Nearby’ feature that shows a list of merchants that accept payments.
FreeCharge is focussing on adding close to 10 lakh merchants in the coming year to rival other e-wallets. They have released a new useful feature called ‘On The Go’ Pin that allows users to complete a transaction without internet connectivity.
Food delivery, groceries, utility bill payments and mobile recharges dominate transactions on this e-wallet.
MobiKwik claims they have registered a 7000% increase in bank transfers and compared to PayTm who charge 1% fee for transfers, they have done away with the bank transfer fee.
Option No.3 - Go to the Himalayas and renounce the material world!
No Cash, No Problem. If all this demonetisation news is too stressful and capitalism isn’t for you, renounce everything, donate all your belongings to worthy NGOs, take one set of clothes and go to the Himalayas to sit and meditate. Enlightenment, they say, comes to those with no worldly attachments or possessions. If you do decide to come back, don’t.