Can hunger for growth lead to early adoption of digital payments?

Praveen Agarwal, a 35-year-old merchant, lives and works in the Sodala neighborhood of Jaipur. Together with his brother, he runs a retail shop that sells bags. Neither uses Paytm, Unified Payments Interface (UPI), PhonePe, Bharat Interface for Money (BHIM) or other popular means of digital payments. Praveen tells us that he had installed Paytm about a year ago on his phone but never had the urge to use it. However, after running a shop for ten years, he invested in a mobile point of sale (mPoS) machine to lure new customers.


Intrigued by this change in behavior, we asked him about the real triggers behind this decision. Praveen says that he had been running a small shop next to his current shop till three months ago. He and his brother used a large part of their savings to move into a bigger shop on the main road. Now, the shop is noticeable in terms of both its size and location.

Praveen says, “Earlier only one or two customers would want to make payments through a credit or debit card. Today, with this bigger shop, we see about six or seven such customers daily. We don’t want to lose these customers. Each customer is valuable for our business.”

There is no ATM within a one kilometer radius of the shop. Praveen adds, “At times, customers would leave the shop to withdraw money from the closest ATM, and change their minds in the process. At times they would never return. I do not want to lose those customers or let them change their minds. I think a PoS machine is going to help me hook those customers.”


CATALYST has been experimenting with various ‘value additions’ to the PoS/mPoS mechanism to discover a perfect hook for digital payments adoption and access to credit. Field stories such as this tell us that newly opened shops with a larger ambition and bigger appetite for growth can be good use cases for early adoption. However, for shops that have not been able to grow in size over time or where the cost of digital adoption is still high, we need to experiment further to learn, through an iterative process, about value-added services that can lead to faster adoption.