Paytm has reportedly added 8 million new users in the two weeks after the Indian government announced the replacement of the country’s highest-denomination bank notes.
In a bid to root out corruption, counterfeit money and tax evasion, the Indian Prime Minister announced the replacement of notes worth INR 500 and INR 1,000. That move has resulted in a cash shortage, with scores of people lining up outside ATMs and banks to deposit their cash, exchange old notes or withdraw new bills, wsj.com reports.
Paytm now has 158 million users, up from about 150 million before the government’s move. The digital wallet is seeing especially strong usage in Southern Indian cities.
There is evidence that amid the proliferation of low-cost smartphones across the country, people in rural areas and from lower income brackets are increasingly using the service. Paytm is seeing more transactions for tens of rupees for items like food and transportation rather than hundreds of rupees for bigger-ticket items.
Paytm also announced that is launching a point of service, or POS, feature that will allow merchants to accept payments from not just wallets on the platform but from credit cards like Visa and MasterCard.
Indians have traditionally preferred to save and spend in cash and many of the country’s more than 1.2 billion people lack bank accounts.