While cash withdrawals have rose around 10% since last November, UPI payments have shot up by close to 20% during the period to an average ticket size of Rs 1,850.
ATM players said there was a temporary lull in the first few months of the lockdown, but withdrawals later shot past pre-Covid levels.
Despite the growth in digital payments, and UPI transactions hitting a milestone of 2 billion, cash is still king.
“Cash is an integral part of the Indian economy and ATMs remain an important touch point that facilitates easy access to cash for the populace at large. With the lockdown measures across the country, a drastic dip in transactions were observed in end-March, April and May. The situation slowly improved from the month of June onwards,” said Hitachi Payment Services MD and CEO Rustom Irani.
Although data for the last three months is currently unavailable, ATM and point of sale machine terminals operator BTI Payments CEO K Srinivas said cash withdrawals were far higher than last Diwali as people stepped up purchase of gifts and sweets.
“We believe that people generally tend to hoard cash for contingencies in an emergency situation like the ongoing pandemic. This coupled with the steady opening up of economic activities and the ongoing festive season have resulted in an increase in average ATM transaction size,” Hitachi’s Irani added.
Another trend noted by ATM players is that people are no longer withdrawing for small values of Rs 100-300. “With the rapid adoption of UPI, small ticket transactions have shifted almost entirely to digital. Now, people withdraw higher amounts; also, with the pandemic no one wants to step out of the house or office more often than required. So, people tend to withdraw their needs for a week,” said BTI Payments’ Srinivas.