India has the world’s second largest population behind China, and until recently its payments infrastructure has lagged far behind the rest of the developed world. But it’s catching up fast, with significant digital payments activity over the last five years. With 1.3 billion people who are mostly unbanked in an economy where 85% to 95% of all transactions are still conducted in cash, few other markets have such an opportunity to modernize payments.
Key initiatives by India’s government and its central bank have significantly accelerated mobile payments development. One catalyst was 2016's demonetization, which recalled small-value cash bills and put a spotlight on nascent mobile payments services. The temporary cash drought triggered higher mobile payments usage and venture capital flowing into what could become one of the world’s top mobile payments within a few years.
What follows is a snapshot of that potential.