Mastercard, along with legendary cricketer Mahendra Singh Dhoni, today announced the launch of a nationwide initiative to accelerate the acceptance and adoption of digital payments. Titled ‘Team Cashless India’, the initiative brings consumers and merchants to the forefront of the digital payments dialogue. The campaign encourages all Indians to nominate one or more merchants who currently do not accept digital payments. Mastercard will work together with Confederation of All India Traders (CAIT), acquirer banks and fintech companies to support nominated merchants to deploy digital payments acceptance infrastructure.
The initiative is in line with Mastercard’s endeavor to create an ecosystem which encourages people to use digital payments for their day-to-day purchases. To take part in ‘Team Cashless India’, anyone can either nominate merchants online or give a missed call to 9016861000. Mastercard will also conduct an outreach program across multiple cities to educate merchants on the benefits of accepting digital payments and to provide a platform for consumers to nominate merchants. These nominations are expected to create a social movement for making India a cashless society. To garner support for the movement, M.S. Dhoni will interact with merchants and encourage them to ‘bat’ for a cashless India by accepting digital payments. Mastercard will provide select nominated merchants and consumers with a chance to join Mahendra Singh Dhoni’s Team Cashless India.
The government has been actively promoting digital payments to make digital inclusion the cornerstone of the economy and hence, has taken several initiatives for the promotion of a less-cash economy. To make this a success, the acceptance of digital payment infrastructure is of paramount importance and India will need roughly 25-30 million acceptance locations by the end of 2021. Digital payments benefit small merchants in several ways, such as lower cost of managing cash, safety and security of money and credit history that opens avenues for more business.
In line with the Government’s vision, ‘Team Cashless India’ is an important step towards Mastercard’s goal to equip 10 million merchants in India with digital payments acceptance capabilities by 2020. The active involvement of cricketing legend Mahendra Singh Dhoni will provide the necessary impetus to the cash-to-digital conversation while CAIT, with its extensive network of over 70 million merchants and traders, will provide the necessary scale and reach via on-the-ground outreach to merchants. Partner banks and payment facilitators will work with merchants to install digital payments infrastructure at points of sale.
Talking about the initiative, Mahendra Singh Dhoni said, “Having been brought up in a small town, I relate to the challenges due to the lack of digital infrastructure. I am truly inspired by Mastercard’s commitment to building a society where everyone has access to safe, secure, and seamless digital payments. It is a progressive journey and requires extensive teamwork. Through Team Cashless India, I would like to invite every Indian consumer and merchant to become a part of this team and play their part in India’s evolution as a digitally empowered cashless society.”
Praveen Khandelwal, National Secretary General, CAIT said, “CAIT is acknowledged as a national voice for merchants and traders. We are excited to be a part of Mastercard’s initiative to educate merchants about the benefits of digital payments and implement it for their business. This will not only enhance the convenience and safety of payments but also create new business opportunities for merchants, increasing their contribution to the Indian economy.”
Manish Patel, CEO & Founder, mSwipe said, “’Cashless merchants in India’ has been mSwipe’s core mission and collaborating with Mastercard has fueled our growth from 400k points of acceptance in March 2019 to 1 Million points of acceptance today. Along with India’s Cricket Champion and Mastercard brand ambassador M.S. Dhoni, we aim for 3 million points of acceptance by March 2020.”
Elaborating on the initiative, Ari Sarker, Co-President, Asia Pacific, Mastercard said, “Over the years, Mastercard has invested continuously and worked tirelessly to strengthen acceptance of digital payments amongst merchants, especially those in tier 2 and 3 cities, as they are the real drivers of India’s economic growth. This exciting initiative brings together Mastercard’s commitment to Digital India and Mahendra Singh Dhoni’s representation of a progressive ‘Bharat’. Mastercard believes Team Cashless India will play a vital role in engaging consumers and merchants to propel India’s transformation as a cashless economy.”
Over the last few years, digital payments in India have grown substantially. In FY19, the country registered 31.34 billion retail digital payments. Further, the Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology (MeitY) has set a target of 40 billion digital transactions for FY 20. However, around 90 percent retail payments are still in cash. This represents a massive opportunity for transformation beyond the metropolitan cities. Mastercard has been continuously working with partner banks, CAIT, and fintech companies to enhance awareness and adoption of digital payments. This has resulted in training workshops for merchants, low-cost acceptance solutions for small merchants, and educational advertising campaigns that have led to higher awareness and perception change.