This Article is From Dec 23, 2016

As E-Wallets Go Big Amid Cash Crunch, Challenges Remain On The Streets

Digital wallets have been adding 1 million users each day since demonetisation.

New Delhi: Since the government banned old 500 and 1,000 rupee notes last month, electronic wallets have had a dream run. According to the Reserve Bank of India, digital wallets like Paytm and MobiKwik have added 1 million users per day since the demonetisation was announced on November 8. But has the experience for users been equally rosy?

The National Association of Street Vendors of India (NASVI) along with the e-wallet MobiKwik has set a target of introducing 30 lakh street vendors to the e-wallet across 25 states in India. They've already introduced 30,000 vendors across five cities - Delhi, Gurgaon, Noida, Kanpur and Patna.

Jagriti Motwani, a senior official at Mobikwik, said, "We are spreading awareness at the moment and training them on how to use the app."

Reshma Khatur, a 29-year-old mother of five who sells shoes in Janpath in New Delhi, is one of the 30,000 who have made the transition. But more than a week after learning the ropes of the new system, problems persist.

"We aren't using it as there isn't much use for it in the market. Many people don't know about it," Reshma said.

Wallet companies say they are trying to address this problem.

Amit Sinha, a senior official at Paytm, said, "The feet on street executives, their job is to go out and educate right from small mom and pop store from large organised retail chain."

Those just being introduced to the concept of a mobile wallet might need more hand holding.

Vijay, a street vendor said he needs his queries answered, "The government has been saying download Paytm, hence I downloaded it. Someone could have come and taught us, provide a helpline number where we could call with our queries. There is nothing like that."