Things in the world of business have changed drastically after the imposition of lockdown on account of the COVID-19 pandemic. It has especially impacted the way people shop and make payments. Needless to say, there has been a severe impact on digital payments as well. On one hand, digital payments, such as donations have seen a massive surge, but on the other hand, digital payments that were made for online shopping have reduced dramatically. Digital payment is a relatively new and highly dynamic payment mode. In the coming days, it is expected to see even more transformation as it strives to adjust to the new reality. Here are some of the ways things have changed and how to adapt to them.
- Digital payments for essential goods have increased: There has been a notable increase in the digital payments and wallet payments being made for essential goods. Earlier, people used to carry out cash transactions for everyday use items, such as vegetables, groceries, and fruits etc. However, with this pandemic, the public and businesses are now reluctant to handle currency notes and coins. This trend has led to a massive increase in the quantum of digital payments being made for daily needs fulfillment. Businesses are also more willing to accept digital payments so as to minimize the need to sanitize and contact.
- Ecommerce transactions have declined: While digital payments for offline transactions have increased, a significant decrease in ecommerce transactions has been noted. Due to various restrictions, the volume of ecommerce has declined drastically, as the companies are not able to carry out deliveries. Consequently, digital payments in the ecommerce segment have also declined. The impact in this segment is especially palpable as ecommerce was one of the most prominent segments for digital payments. Due to restriction on the movement of goods, people are not carrying out ecommerce transactions, and therefore, payments have been hampered like never before.
- Digital payments for services have increased: As more and more businesses are moving towards contactless services and social distancing, a decline in cash transactions has been observed. However, people are still required to pay for essential services such as utility bills, electricity payments and taxes. Hence, the use of digital modes for fulfilling these obligations has increased. Till date, digital payments have played an important role in keeping the economy running, as people are not able to venture outside and withdraw money from ATMs or bank branches during the lockdown. In such cases, digital payments have come to their rescue and have helped them avail essential services.
- Travel sector is suffering from reduced demand: The ban on movement of goods and people has wreaked havoc on the transport and travel sector. This segment has almost come to a standstill, as people have either postponed or cancelled their travel plans in the wake of the pandemic. Tourism has also hit a bad patch due to the ongoing ban on air travel and domestic and international flights. As a result, the quantum of digital payments usually made for tour and travel purposes has also declined drastically. However, it is expected that once the lockdown is revoked and people are allowed to go about their normal activities, the sector may see a swift surge. Accordingly, the momentum for digital payments will also increase considerably.
- Overall trend: As is evident from the points discussed above, the lockdown has had different impacts on different segments. Digital payments have played an important role in keeping the economy live and running during these difficult times. Despite the restriction on movement and contact, digital payments have made it possible to pay mandatory bills. Also, some businesses have been able to conduct regular operations while observing social distancing, due to digital payments.
All in all, digital payment systems and electronic wallets have proved their worth during these testing times. These technologies have helped in maintaining order amidst the chaos by performing some very essential services. Even after the lockdown is revoked, it is expected that digital payments will continue to be popular as people all over the world will become more cautious about possible infections and the dangers of transactions that involve contact.