While the use of Unified Payments Interface (UPI) has become increasingly common in India since the pandemic, women make up less than 30% of users, Arati Deo, engineering director, Google Pay, said.
Assistance offered to women by someone trusted while they carry out their first few transactions can help them overcome the barrier related to digital payments, she said.
“A barrier is simply onboarding women on the apps,” Deo said. She was speaking at the ‘Making Finance Work for Women‘ Summit in Mumbai.
On a panel discussion deliberating on the need to move from digital financial literacy to digital and financial capability, Deo mentioned how taking a course helps literacy, but it is the usage of the products that help build capability.
“We are working with Women’s World Banking to understand what could encourage more women to make digital payments in India, and what it takes for women to come to payments apps,” she said.
UPI allows peer-to-peer and consumer-to-merchant transactions through mobile apps and e-commerce platforms. It registers over 2 billion transactions a month and has been one of the major drivers of the digital payments system in the retail payments space, the Inclusive Finance India Report from 2022 found. The report also stated that women are less savvy in undertaking digital transactions than men.
Deo also highlighted that having someone trusted to take a woman customer through the initial steps of getting onboarded and carrying out the first transaction greatly helps them overcome the barrier associated with digital payments. “If women are offered this initial support, the rest of the journey becomes easier,” she said.
The panel hosted at the Summit by Women’s World Banking, a nonprofit organization that devises women-centric and commercially-viable financial solutions for banks, FSPs, FIs, and Fintech, said that “classroom-based” digital financial training programmes are not very effective, adding that “learning by doing” is the best way for women to develop confidence and digital capability.
“Women need a little extra attention in overcoming sociocultural and mental barriers that exist in their use of digital banking and financial services. Through our work, we help banks and FSPs realize the commercial value that women customers offer as intuitive savers, prudent borrowers, and loyal customers,” Kalpana Ajayan, Regional Head-South Asia, Women’s World Banking said.