How Can Startups Thrive in India's Booming Digital Payments Market?

Discover how India's digital payment landscape is transforming rapidly. Role of government initiatives, the growth of online shoppers, and the emergence of cutting-edge technologies. How can startups harness this evolution? Read to know more.

Sonu Vivek
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Recent trends in India's online payments ecosystem have ushered in a transformation in how consumers conduct their daily transactions. From UPI and digital wallets to Buy Now, Pay Later (BNPL) services, online payments have evolved to simplify the lives of both consumers and businesses. In response to surging user demand, fintech companies are gearing up to meet the evolving needs of future customers with convenient and innovative financial services.

A recent report by Redseer in collaboration with Plural by Pine Labs delves into how businesses and startups can position themselves to make the most of the emerging digital payments ecosystem.

What Are the Driving Forces Behind Digital Payment Adoption?

India is well on its way to becoming a digital economy powerhouse, with more than 70 crore existing internet users in a population of 140 crore. Increased internet and smartphone penetration, progressive government policies, and secure technologies have fueled this transformation. The adoption of digital payments saw a significant boost during the COVID-19 pandemic, with first-time e-commerce users and regular online shoppers driving digital payment adoption to new heights.

Furthermore, the report projects a 50% growth in online shoppers by FY26, led by customers from Tier-2 and smaller cities. As more consumers embrace digital payment methods, businesses embrace technology to facilitate digital transactions. It is estimated that approximately 85% of businesses will be digitally enabled by FY26.

Digital Transactions Surge in India

The "Digital India" program, initiated by the Indian Government in 2015, has played a pivotal role in the rise of digital payments across the country. This program successfully promoted a "faceless, paperless, cashless" environment in India, particularly evident in the retail sector where P2M (Person-to-Merchant) payments witnessed a surge through QR codes. The popularity of these payments in retail has had a significant impact on the overall  digital paymentlandscape.


According to the report, digital transactions in India have already surpassed INR 3.2 lakh crore in 2023, and it is projected that this figure will touch INR 4 lakh crore by FY26, demonstrating the continued upward trajectory of digital payments.

"Since the introduction of UPI in 2016, it has outperformed every other form of digital transaction thanks to its ease of fund transfer across bank accounts. UPI has also been a facilitator of the ‘Bharat Bill Payment System (BBPS), linking payment services with utility providers. Embedded finance refers to integrating financial products and services such as credit, insurance, payments, and lending into the purchase journey on non-financial platforms. BNPL has gained popularity among Gen Z and Millennials as a convenient financing option, allowing them to spread out payments for their purchases," the report stated. 

Household Digital Transactions on the Rise

Indian households are contributing significantly to the digital transactions landscape, with P2M payments playing a substantial role. The convenience of mobile payments has driven growth in P2M transactions, with digital payment methods being used in 80% of transactions in grocery shopping, food delivery, and travel. Emerging technologies like e-RUPI and wearable devices are expected to further boost this trend.

What Technologies Are Shaping the Future of Digital Payments in India?

While UPI has captured the largest share of digital payments since its introduction in 2016, embedded finance and emerging trends are set to elevate digital spending further. UPI's ease of fund transfer between bank accounts and its role in the Bharat Bill Payment System (BBPS) has solidified its position as a leader in digital transactions. Embedded finance, BNPL services, and emerging trends like e-RUPI, wearable payment devices, voice payments, and biometric payments are set to enhance the customer experience and increase loyalty and digital spending.

For example, the report highlights that retail e-RUPI has seen approximately 800,000 transaction volumes within just two months of its launch, while the Indian wearable market, valued at INR 1.1 lakh crore in FY22, is projected to reach INR 1.4 lakh crore by FY2030.

The digital payments landscape in India is evolving rapidly, and businesses and startups that can integrate these technologies into their payment strategies are well-positioned to streamline operations, reduce costs, and enhance customer satisfaction. With India's digital economy on the rise, those who embrace these changes are set to thrive in the emerging ecosystem of online payments.

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