Paying by cash is passé. Well, even if it’s not, you can’t ignore the inconvenience of carrying change in your pockets all the time. Digital payment options are the complete opposite – they’re convenient and they don’t weigh your pockets down in any way. The past few years have seen a real boom in the number of payment options that are available in India. All you need in order to access them is an internet-connected device. And most people happen to carry one along with them all the time in the form of their smartphones. If you want to make a switch from cash to digital payments, here are all the main options you can opt for right now. And rest assured that they’re all safe and secure.
This is the oldest method of making cashless transactions. If you own a bank account, you most probably have a debit card as well. These cards often come with several offers and loyalty benefits. Offers and benefits are more and better with credit cards though, that are offered to you based on your CIBIL scores. You can either swipe your credit or debit cards at purchase terminals or use them online to make your purchases. Everything from online shopping to the topping up of your mobile wallets is supported by credit and debit cards. So if you wish to purchase a video game on Steam, or if you’re into online casinos and would like to make your transactions on casino portals like this site, you can easily do so with your banking cards.
Mobile wallets are simple and hassle-free to set up. All you need to do is register on any such app, and have your KYC verification done. You can now use your debit or credit card to fill money in it, and you can thus have a cash-less digital wallet that you can carry around anywhere. Using mobile wallets, you can send money to your friends, make payments at shopping terminals or even small shops. Paytm and PhonePe are two very popular mobile wallet apps in India, while apps like Amazon and Flipkart also have mobile wallets of their own.
UPI (Unified Payment Interface)
UPI is a unique real-time payment system developed to facilitate inter-bank transactions. If you have a bank account and a smartphone, you’re eligible for taking advantage of this highly useful service. Unlike mobile wallets, you don’t need to top up money here, since all the payments happen through your bank account directly and all the money you receive instantly goes into your bank account as well. Apps like BHIM and Google Pay specialize in UPI, but Paytm, PhonePe, Amazon and many more also offer UPI options in their apps. Using a UPI app, you can transfer money to any other UPI user instantly, just by knowing their phone number or scanning their special QR code. UPI can also be used at payment terminals, while the apps mentioned above even offer you options for spending your money on mobile bill payments, electricity bill payments, travel bookings and much more.
USSD (Unstructured Supplementary Service Data)
This is a service aimed at those who don’t own smartphones. USSD is a payment method that doesn’t require the internet to work. All you need to do is dial *99# on your phone and interact with the voice menu that greets you. USSD can be used for initiating fund transfers, getting bank statements and making balance queries. It only works if you dial *99# using the registered mobile number associated with your bank account. A one-time setup is required, where you need to acquire your MNID and MPIN to get going.
Bank pre-paid cards
These are not so common in India, but they are indeed used by a few people. Pre-paid cards are actually temporary instruments of payment. They work like mobile wallets, except, in this case, you’re actually loading money onto the pre-paid card rather than in the mobile app. The bank you have an account with allows you to get a pre-paid card and provides you with a secret PIN that you can use to make transactions with it.
Apple Pay offers you the convenience of traveling without any of your credit or debit cards. You need to load up all your cards into its application, and then, when you’re at an NFC-enabled payment terminal, all you need to do is tap your iPhone onto the counter, and the amount will be deducted instantly. Apple Watches also come with this facility, and the same goes for iPads. However, in India, there’s a shortage of NFC-enabled payment terminals, which is why the use of Apple Pay hasn’t spread as wide as it has in some other countries.
Samsung has invented a unique and highly useful payment system. Just like Apple Pay, you can load up all your cards in the Samsung Pay application, but unlike the Apple service, you can use it at any payment terminal, even if it’s not NFC-enabled. The service achieves this with the help of the magnetic stripe, which is the same technology that’s used by the payment terminals that usually scan your cards. This way, you can just tap your Samsung phone on any payment terminal and it will recognize your card to carry forward the payment.
Internet and mobile banking
These are of course no-brainers, but frankly, with all the above-mentioned options available now, there’s really no logic in using these dated services right now. If you still want to use them, internet banking works with an ID and a password that’s provided to you by the bank where your account is. Once you get them, you can log in and facilitate your transactions from any device that has a browser or your bank’s app. As for mobile banking, it can be of three types, and we’ve already talked about one of them – USSD. The other two include Mobile Banking over Wireless Application Protocol (WAP) and Mobile Banking over SMS.
Those are all the main online payment methods that you should know about if you’re living in India. We’re sure this list has helped you pick the one that’s most suited for you.