Mastercard partners with SBI Payments to boost digital payments acceptance infrastructure in Guwahati, Lucknow and Varanasi

February 22, 2022 | India

The initiative simplifies the lives of micro-merchants by leveraging technology aided by
human intervention

As an extension of its flagship campaign ‘Team Cashless India’, Mastercard organized three on-ground engagements in Guwahati, Lucknow and Varanasi to generate greater awareness and understanding of digital payments. Mastercard Team Cashless India volunteers partnered with the Auto Rickshaw Association in Lucknow, All Assam’s Restaurant Association (AARA) in Guwahati, local shopkeepers, and Boat Union in Varanasi to bolster the digital payments infrastructure in their respective cities.

During these engagements, Mastercard Team Cashless India volunteers and SBI Payments spoke to micro-merchants about the convenience, safety, and other benefits of accepting digital payments. The outreach was very well received across cities, generating incredible results:

  • With nearly 80% of micro-merchants in the Northeast region not yet equipped with digital payment acceptance infrastructure, the collaboration with All Assam’s Restaurant Association (AARA) will go a long way. In line with the Government’s ‘Digital Northeast Vision 2022’, this initiative equips restaurant and hotel owners with a safe, seamless, secure mode of payment to consumers, which in turn brings greater transparency and efficiency to the eco-system.
  • In Lucknow, Mastercard partnered with local transport bodies, including the Auto Rickshaw Association, to enable auto-rickshaw drivers to accept digital payments. More than 700 drivers committed to go digital at the event itself. Over time, this is expected to lead to a positive shift as thousands of association members adopt digital payments, creating a ripple effect throughout Uttar Pradesh.
  • In Varanasi, Mastercard partnered with the Boat Union to encourage over 1,000 members to accept digital payments from tourists. Local shopkeepers also took part in the event and committed to transitioning to digital payments. The effort is expected to provide a safe and hassle-free shopping and tourism experience for millions of people who visit Varanasi each year.

Sanyukta Bhatia, Mayor, Lucknow said, “We would like to thank Mastercard and SBI payments for bringing the Team Cashless India campaign to Uttar Pradesh. Aligning with the Government’s Digital India vision, this initiative will significantly minimize the dependence on cash transactions.  As Uttar Pradesh was awarded the first position among states in the India Smart Cities Award 2021, we strongly believe that the Team Cashless India campaign will further accelerate safer and hassle-free payments to thousands of users.”

Manasi Narasimhan, Vice President, Marketing and Communications, South Asia, Mastercard, said, “Mastercard is delighted to play a meaningful role in driving India’s financial inclusion agenda. Since it launched, Mastercard’s Team Cashless India campaign has had a positive and tangible impact on the lives of small and micro merchants who were previously not part of the formal economy. The most recent success stories from Guwahati, Lucknow and Varanasi are yet another testimony to this impact. As more micro-merchants are equipped to accept digital payments, India’s digital economy will enjoy a multifold ripple effect.”

The Team Cashless India campaign is part of Mastercard’s worldwide commitment to bring 1 billion people and 50 million micro-businesses into the digital economy by 2025. Launched in 2019 in partnership with legendary cricketer Mahendra Singh Dhoni, the campaign has garnered significant support with more than 1,30,000 micro-merchants attending on-ground engagements and 50,000+ merchants being nominated to start their digital journeys. Through this campaign, Mastercard encourages people to nominate merchants who do not yet accept digital payments. Mastercard then works with the Confederation of All India Traders (CAIT) and acquirer partners to support the nominated merchants to deploy digital payments acceptance infrastructure.

There has been a significant growth in the volume of India’s digital payments industry, from 1,459.02 Crore transactions in FY 2017-18 to 4,371.18 Crore transactions in FY 2020-21 due to sustained efforts to drive digitization. [1]This growth is on the back of popular methods which make payments at merchant stores secure, simple, and frictionless.