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58% Rural women prefer Aadhaar Enabled Payment System to access their bank accounts: Study

In the withdrawal market largely driven by tier-III and rural markets, majority of the transactions conducted by women were in the age bracket of 31-40 years (65 per cent)
58% Rural women prefer Aadhaar Enabled Payment System to access their bank accounts: Study
58% Rural women prefer Aadhaar Enabled Payment System to access their bank accounts: Study (Representational image: Shutterstock)

Over 58 per cent of female customers, who availed basic banking services at PayNearby’s retail outlets preferred Aadhaar Enabled Payment System (AePS) to access their bank accounts. Cash continues to dominate the payment space among women as more than 60 per cent preferred dealing in cash, followed by UPI QR and cards in that order, PayNearby, India’s leading digital payments company and leading branchless banking network, today said.

The insight was shared as part of a detailed survey titled – ‘PayNearby Women Financial Index (PWFI)’ – an annual pan-India report showcasing financial consumption by women at retail outlets, released by PayNearby today. The annual report, in its second edition, was prepared basis on a pan-India survey conducted by the company among 3,000+ retail stores in the country, recording financial transactions of women consumers as observed in those outlets.
 
According to the survey, more than 75 per cent of the retailers mentioned that women within the age group of 21-30 years were the most digitally adept, with over 50 per cent of this age bracket owning a smartphone and accessing digital content through it. This was immediately followed by the age group 31-40 years.
 
Over 60 per cent of women customers, especially in the cash withdrawal markets, fell in the age group of 31-40 years, with assisted digital access of their accounts through AePS being the most used banking service. In urban and metro centres, which were remittance driven, 20-30 year-olds contributed to nearly 25 per cent of women consumers, showcasing the growing trend of young women getting integrated into the workforce.
 
While cash still remained the most preferred mode, UPI and cards also saw adoption among women consumers, with preferences ranging from 5-15 per cent among different age groups. Prepaid cards and digital wallets were also found mentioned as a use case for accessing digital content/e-commerce in the digitally aware, smartphone carrying customer segment.
 
Cash withdrawal, mobile recharges and bill payments were the top three services availed by women customers at retail touchpoints. At urban and metro centres, money remittance also saw good adoption. The transactions were primarily conducted by young working women belonging to the age bracket of 21-30 years (45 per cent) and 31-40 years (25 per cent).
 
In the withdrawal market largely driven by tier-III and rural markets, the majority of the transactions conducted by women were in the age bracket of 31-40 years (65 per cent). Approximately 78 per cent of women in tier-III and rural areas availed cash withdrawals. Overall, ₹1000-2500 was the most preferred range of withdrawal for women across the country.
 
The report further stated that while more than 75 per cent of women-operated their bank accounts themselves, they were primarily for the purpose of cash withdrawal and cash deposits. However, more than 20 per cent of the women admitted to their husbands operating their bank accounts instead of themselves.
 
Post pandemic era, there was a growing awareness among women to save for medical emergencies and rainy days, with more than 40 per cent of those surveyed indicating ‘Bachat’ (saving) as a priority for them. Formal saving instruments though, continue to see thin adoption, with less than 15 per cent of those surveyed aware of formal saving instruments. Penetration of evolved services such as insurance (less than 5 per cent) also continues to be low.

Highlighting the findings, Anand Kumar Bajaj, Founder, MD & CEO, PayNearby said, “India is at the forefront of digital revolution globally. However, there is a real danger of widening the digital gap that exists today, if all segments of our society are not integrated in this journey. Whether it is our women force or the large underserved rural economy, it is important for us to measure the digital index across segments, to put in place appropriate actions wherever necessary.
 
It is heartening to see a growing trend of young women in the age group of 20-40 years, actively consuming digital financial services across retail stores in the country. Though the journey today is largely assisted, from here to a self-service mode will require us to work harder in creating a more empowered ecosystem around them.
 
This means ensuring easy availability of digital content, digital education and digital banking products that can break tech and cost barriers and be easily assimilated across all segments of the society. As our youth and women get more and more integrated into the digital way of life, it will lay down the foundation for a more evolved and empowered society.”
 
“As more and more women start using digital payments, it will help drive up overall account ownership. Digital assistance for everyday actions, such as paying expenses or accessing digital commerce and infotainment can save women time and resources and help improve quality of life. It is our mission to enable form-factor agnostic, simple-to-use digital payment alternatives at all Kirana stores in the country, so that our masses, especially our women can soon bridge the digital divide that exists in Bharat,” Bajaj further said.
 
“The study showed that informal savings at home still continue to be a trend, with less than 15 per cent of women customers showing awareness for a formal savings product. Though this number is better than last year, yet, a lot more needs to be done to bring about significant change. To inculcate the habit of formal savings in every household, we require coordinated efforts from all stakeholders, and at PayNearby our commitment towards that continues unabated,” he explains.
 
Further, the survey indicated that almost 35 per cent of women visiting Kiranas and retail outlets for financial transactions used smartphones and also availed WhatsApp actively. Adoption in cities was as high as 50-60 per cent. Rural India also saw a good adoption, with double-digit adoption almost everywhere in the country. This signifies a growing adoption of digital services among women consumers visiting Kirana stores for financial transactions.
 
When asked about their top three saving goals, child education topped the list for women, which was followed by medical emergency, home purchase and purchase of gold. The 55 per cent of women indicated ₹500-750 as their preferred range for monthly savings.
 
With just 5 per cent of women customers aware of insurance as a service, the survey highlighted the impending need to create more awareness for the same, especially across rural and semi-urban markets. However, among the cognizant respondents, life insurance followed by health were the preferred choices.

Read more: Capital Trust to accelerate digital lending in rural India

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