Tuesday, January 26, 2021
Home Business News Jan Dhan, cash transfers boost ATMs in Bharat - Times of India

Jan Dhan, cash transfers boost ATMs in Bharat – Times of India

BENGALURU: With Jan Dhan accounts and the government’s direct benefit transfers (DBT), ATM usage has gone up in rural areas. This is most clearly seen by the trend of increased usage of ‘white-label operators’ ATMs, which are used only in rural and remote parts of the country. From just 2% of total ATM transactions in India in 2014, these white-label ATMs now make up 12% of total transactions.
ATM players say that the main reason for this is that over seven years, the number of debit cards in India has doubled to 86 crore as of September 2020. And of those cards, 35% (30 crore) are RuPay ones issued to PM Jan Dhan Yojana accounts.

“We are seeing rural demand growing despite the pandemic. One of the reasons is that the rural economy has not been as severely impacted as the urban one with the lockdown,” says K Srinivas, CEO, BTI Payments, a white-label ATM operator. The government’s assistance to BPL workers during the pandemic is also held to have helped in part the industry take a quantum leap from 9.5% in September 2019 to 12% in September 2020.
India’s ATM industry has grown 3% to 2.5 lakh ATMs, while white-label ATMs grew 14% to 24,195 as of September 2020. The higher growth percentage of white-label ATM (WLA) operators is an indication of rural growth but its not limited to that — banks have also been expanding in rural regions. However, the ATM industry numbers (3% growth) do not reflect that as the expansion was offset by the 10-PSU-bank merger plan, which led to closure of ATMs in urban areas. “The rural economy is certainly growing on the back of direct benefit transfers. We have seen that in rural branches — majority of customers are using Yono app or ATMs, and come to branches only for non-payment/ fund-transfer transactions,” said Abhijit Mazumdhar, CGM, Karnataka circle, SBI, which has 58,762 or roughly a quarter of the country’s ATMs.

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