GUWAHATI, Sept 6: PhonePe, India’s leading fintech platform announced that it has digitised 80 lakh offline merchants as a part of the RBI PIDF (Payments Infrastructure Development Fund) scheme in the last eighteen months. The Payments Infrastructure Development Fund was set up by the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) to subsidise deployment of Points of Sale (PoS) infrastructure (physical and digital modes) in Tier-3 to Tier-6 centres and North Eastern states of the country. With the PIDF scheme, PhonePe was able to double down and create digital payment infrastructure across the country, and digitise even far-flung terrains which had so far not been digitised.
The PhonePe Pulse data shows that PhonePe’s consistent efforts to educate, engage and empower merchants has led to phenomenal acceptance of digital payments in the NorthEast Region (NER), which is one of the focus areas of PIDF also. PhonePe is accepted as a payment option across the toughest terrains of NER including far-flung towns such as the Changlang district in Arunachal Pradesh. Assam witnessed the fastest adoption with 2.5+ lakh merchants in 2022 compared to just 10,000 merchants in 2020, followed by Tripura, Meghalaya, Arunachal Pradesh, Nagaland, Sikkim, and Mizoram. Along with the acquisition rate, the transactions – both online and offline in the NER region have also seen a significant rise from less than 1 lakh transactions in Q1 2018 to 2+ crore transactions in Q1 this year.
Speaking on the development, Vivek Lohcheb, head of Offline Business said, “We would like to thank the RBI for the creation of the PIDF scheme, effectively designing it for companies like us to invest in the digitisation of merchants across the country. In the past, it was unviable for companies like us to spend money in rural areas as the market is very scattered, and there was a need to make significant investments in terms of manpower to digitise merchants in remote areas. The PIDF scheme has boosted that infrastructure and is helping us create universal acceptance in every nook and corner of the country.”
As next steps, PhonePe plans to innovate in strengthening the payment experience of merchants with products like the smart speaker which will further improve the reliability of digital payments. The company also plans to use the same infrastructure to bring these merchants on the ONDC platform, while also enabling financial inclusion for even the smallest merchants, helping their business grow further.