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Mobile wallet payments in the time of COVID-19: The Indian experience
This paper uses an interrupted time-series approach to study the demand for mobile wallet payments in India following the imposition of social distancing measures to contain the spread of COVID-19. The study finds that although the value and volume of mobile wallet payments initially dipped once the restrictions were in place, the rate of increase in both value and volume sub-sequently rose above pre-pandemic levels. Various factors are likely to have influenced this trend, including inter alia convenience and society’s new-found aversion to transacting in cash. This paper argues that to continue to benefit from the work carried out by banks and FinTechs to simplify the process of sending and receiving payments, and encourage the sustained use of mobile wallets, policymakers need to provide the right incentives, infrastructure, regulation and strategies.
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Rishi Kumar is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Economics and Finance at BITS Pilani, Hyderabad Campus. His research interests include development economics, applied econometrics and time-series analysis.
Vastav Ratra is a pre-final year student at BITS Pilani, Hyderabad Campus, where he is pursuing a dual degree in economics and computer science. His research interests include development and public economics, with a focus on technology, cities of the global south and higher education.
Shravanth Mandava is an Associate for PricewaterhouseCoopers India. In his current role, he works with public sector clients and international development agencies on matters relating to deregulation and reforms to financial management and the ease of doing business. Shravanth graduated from BITS Pilani, Hyderabad Campus with a master’s degree in economics.