At a time when digital payments have become a new normal with UPI crossing more than 2 Bn transactions, Aadhaar-enabled payments system (AePS) has also gained steam and surpassed cash withdrawals from ATMs in November 2020.
The Reserve Bank of India (RBI) data has revealed that 68.4 Mn withdrawals worth INR 18,820 Cr were conducted through AePS channels in the month of November as against 39 Mn transactions amounting to INR 9,778 Cr in the same period last year. During the same period, ATM transactions fell to 340 Mn worth INR 1.43 lakh Cr, as against 640 Mn withdrawals worth INR 3.04 lakh Cr last year.
During the lockdown, AePS transactions doubled to 11.3 Mn due to the government using it to transfer funds of various welfare and benefit schemes. In March this year, the number of AePS stood at 181.81 Mn taking an average of 6 Mn transactions daily and in April, around 1 Lakh daily AePS withdrawals, amounting to INR 13 Cr, were processed through 15K digital kiosks in rural areas.
Meanwhile, in the month of September, the National Payments Corporation of India (NPCI) had revealed AePS transactions worth INR 17,351.66 Cr were made.
Fino Payments Bank, India Post Payments Bank, Airtel Payments Bank brought in the most merchants through authentication services. Earlier this year, Airtel Payments Bank had also launched a network of 250K AePS banking points across India. Whereas Fino Payments Bank has onboarded 1 lakh merchant points and 70K micro ATMs between April and November.
Since April, fintech platform RapiPay also added 60K new micro-ATMs has onboarded 25K merchants every month, taking its total strength to 150K merchants.
Developed by NPCI, AePS allows people to carry out transactions on a micro ATM by using Aadhaar authentication and verifying it with the help of their fingerprint/iris scan.
Basically, these transactions are made through either handheld devices given by bank mitras or installed at public distribution system outlets and offers services such as cash withdrawal, cash deposit, balance enquiry, aadhaar to aadhaar fund transfer, mini statement and best finger detection.
According to an ET report, the primary reason for the surge of AePS transactions is that there are a lesser number of ATMs in the interior areas, and taking that opportunity, banks and payment companies have increased the set up of micro ATMs. Also, there is a lesser cost involved in setting these micro ATMs as compared to the traditional teller machines.