These categories include various solutions that include several unique features tailored to meet the demands of the Indian consumers and the  merchants. Here is a detailed comparison of each cashless payment solution available in India.

CATALYST IS AN INITIATIVE FUNDED BY UNITED STATES AGENCY FOR INTERNATIONAL DEVELOPMENT (USAID) UNDER THE mSTAR PROGRAM TO PROMOTE CASHLESS PAYMENT SOLUTIONS AS A MEANS FOR DEEPER FINANCIAL INCLUSION IN INDIA. THESE SOLUTIONS CAN BE BROADLY CLASSIFIED INTO:

Mobile-based solutions
Exclusive card-acceptance solutions
Biometric solutions

MOBILE-BASED SOLUTIONS

UPI

Unified Payments Interface (UPI) is a system developed by the National Payments Corporation of India. Built using the IMPS infrastructure, UPI uses a mobile-based payment interface to facilitate instant transfer of money. It facilitates easy transactions with Virtual Payment Address (VPA/UPI ID) and QR code.

Prerequisites

  • Smartphone device
  • Debit card
  • Mobile number linked to Bank account

Popular payment providers: BHIM-UPI, PhonePe

Transaction limits: INR 1 Lakh per day

Cost of transaction/solution

  • 0 for peer-to-peer transactions
  • Capped at 0.3 to 0.8% for merchants depending on
    turnover

Getting started

  • Download the app from Google Play Store
  • Select your bank
  • Verify the number linked to your bank account to
    register
  • Create VPA ID and UPI pin
  • Share VPA ID or print QR code to start transacting

Use case applicability
Easy transactions between retailers and distributors, across verticals, due to remote payment support.

*99#

Launched in November, 2012, *99# is an Unstructured Supplementary Service Data (USSD)-based mobile banking service. As access to mobile technology is now a clear reality, the Government of India has created this initiative to make mobile banking services easily available to all Indians.

Prerequisites

  • Mobile phone
  • Debit card
  • Mobile number linked to bank account

Popular payment providers: All telecom carriers

Transaction limits: INR 5,000 per transaction

Cost of transaction/solution

  • INR 0.5 for peer-to-peer transactions
  • Cost of SMS for initiating the transaction

Getting started

  • Dial *99# from your phone
  • Choose your language
  • Select your bank
  • Register your bank account
  • Enter card details to generate UPI pin and VPA ID
  • Share VPA ID to initiate transactions

Use case applicability
Retailer to distributor payments in the FMCG sectors in rural and semi-urban regions

mPOS

An mPOS is a smartphone tablet, or a dedicated wireless device that records sales and conducts cashless transactions.

Prerequisites

  • Smartphone device
  •  Internet connectivity

Popular payment providers: Epaisa, mSwipe, Ezetap, FTCash, PayBee

Transaction limits: At the discretion of the provider

Cost of transaction/solution

  •  Infrastructure cost of INR 4,000 to INR 8,000
  • Monthly fee of INR 200 to INR 1,000
  • Merchant Discount Rate (MDR) as applicable

Getting started

  • Device activated upon KYC checks

Use case applicability

  • Mid-to-large businesses

Wallets

A wallet is a virtual holder for all your cards and bank accounts. This system allows consumers to transact quickly without entering their card/bank account details every time they shop.

Prerequisites

  • Smartphone
  • Internet connectivity
  • Activated wallet account linked to credit/debit card

Popular payment providers: PayTM, Mobikwik

Transaction limits:

  • Less than INR 20,000 per transaction without KYC
  • Up to INR 1,00,000 per transaction with KYC

Cost of transaction/solution

  •  INR 0 for peer-to-peer transactions

Getting started

  • Download the wallet app
  • Register on the app with personal credentials

Use case applicability

  • Small businesses
  • eCommerce portals
  • Home entrepreneurs

BIOMETRIC SOLUTIONS

mPOS

An mPOS is a smartphone tablet, or a dedicated wireless device that records sales and conducts cashless transactions.

Prerequisites

  • Smartphone device
  •  Internet connectivity

Popular payment providers: Epaisa, mSwipe, Ezetap, FTCash, PayBee

Transaction limits: At the discretion of the provider

Cost of transaction/solution

  •  Infrastructure cost of INR 4,000 to INR 8,000
  • Monthly fee of INR 200 to INR 1,000
  • Merchant Discount Rate (MDR) as applicable

Getting started

  • Device activated upon KYC checks

Use case applicability : Mid-to-large businesses

EXCLUSIVE CARD-ACCEPTANCE SOLUTIONS

BharatQR

Developed by the NPCI, BharatQR is an integrated payment solution that enables quick and secure transactions via QR code technology

Prerequisites

  • Bank registered QR code for merchant
  • Smartphone for customer

Popular payment providers: All banking apps

Transaction limits: At the discretion of the provider

Cost of transaction/solution

  • Monthly fees of INR 100 to INR 300
  • Merchant Discount Rate (MDR) applicable

Getting started

  • Contact your bank
  • Register and activate QR code (subject to KYC)
  • Share QR code to transact via scan & pay

Use case applicability : Small businesses

POS

A device that records sales, and conducts cashless transactions at a merchant location

Prerequisites

  • Fixed telephone line
  • Data connection
  • Current account

Popular payment providers: All banks

Transaction limits: At the discretion of the provider

Cost of transaction/solution

  •  Annual cost of INR 6,000 to INR 10,000
  • Merchant Discount Rate (MDR) applicable

Getting started

  • Contact your home bank branch
  • Enrol your business for POS
  • Submit KYC documents
  • Bank delivers and activates POS machine

Use case applicability : Medium-to-large businesses

Together, let’s bridge the financial divide with digital payments!

Technical Writers : Sapna Bharath and Gaurav Singhal

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