Going Digital: How Nigeria, India and Others are Promoting Digital Payments Adoption

The Reserve Bank of India (RBI) has launched the “Har Payment Digital” mission during Digital Payments Awareness Week (DPAW) 2023, with the aim of making every person in India a user of digital payments. The campaign theme, “Digital Payment Apnao, Auron ko bhi Sikhao” (Adopt digital payments and also teach others), will be observed from March 6th to March 12th, 2023.

The RBI Governor, Shaktikanta Das, stated that the mission intends to reinforce the ease and convenience of digital payments and onboard new consumers into the digital fold. Banks and non-bank payment system operators are planning campaigns to highlight the available digital payment channels, which will encourage and support the adoption of digital payments in the country. Mr. Das also informed that payment systems in India have witnessed over one thousand crore transactions every month since December 2022.

Additionally, the RBI’s Regional Offices will take up Jan Bhagidari activities to promote the acceptance and use of digital payments under the G20 theme of promoting digital public infrastructure during Indian presidency. Furthermore, the Reserve Bank will initiate a ‘75 Digital Villages’ programme in observance of 75 years of Independence, in which Payment System Operators will adopt 75 villages across the country and convert them into digital payment enabled villages.

During the launch of the “Har Payment Digital” mission, the Governor appealed to all stakeholders, including banks, non-banks, payment system operators, digital payment users, etc., to adopt digital payments and educate others about their benefits. The goal is to encourage every person in India to become a digital payment user.

Here are a few ideas that could be borrowed, along with examples and explanations:

1. Launch digital payment campaigns: The RBI is launching various campaigns highlighting the digital payment channels available, and this can be replicated by other countries to promote digital payments. For instance, the Central Bank of Nigeria launched a campaign to promote the use of digital payments during the COVID-19 pandemic. The campaign encouraged Nigerians to use digital payment channels instead of cash to prevent the spread of the virus. This campaign was successful, with a 42% increase in the use of digital payments in Nigeria (Pulse Nigeria).

2. Adopt digital villages: The RBI’s ‘75 Digital Villages’ programme aims to convert villages into digital payment enabled villages. This can be replicated in other countries, especially those with rural areas where digital payments adoption is low. For example, in Indonesia, the government launched the ‘One Village One Product’ programme to develop rural areas by promoting local products and services. This programme can be expanded to include digital payments adoption to promote financial inclusion in rural areas (The Jakarta Post).

3. Encourage digital payment adoption through education: The RBI Governor appealed to all stakeholders to adopt digital payments and educate others about their benefits. This can be replicated by other countries to encourage digital payment adoption. For example, in Kenya, the government launched a digital literacy programme to educate citizens about digital payments and their benefits. This programme was successful, with an increase in the use of mobile money by 22% (CGAP).

These ideas can be helpful to other countries to emphasize the importance of promoting digital payments adoption. Digital payments adoption can promote financial inclusion, increase economic growth, and reduce cash usage, leading to reduced costs associated with cash handling. By adopting some of the above ideas, other countries can promote digital payments adoption and achieve similar benefits.

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