NPCI Does Not Want Digital Wallets like Paytm, Mobikwik & Others for Electronic Toll Collection

Electronic Toll Collection Lane

At the moment, money at highway tolls is collected through the staff sitting at the toll site. Unlike other countries, toll collection in India is a manual process that wastes a lot of time and money when calculated at an yearly basis. However, the Government wants to do away with this effort.

In a new development towards digitizing the collection of money at toll booths, National Payment Corporation of India(NPCI) will go ahead with commercial banks by engaging customers through debit and credit cards. However, digital wallets like Paytm, Mobikwik and Citrus will not figure anywhere in this scenario.

Commenting on the move, AP Hota, chief executive of NPCI, said, “They (companies providing wallet services) might be interested, but the National Highways Authority of India has shown no interest and we have not suggested to NHAI to bring in non-banks.” There doesn’t seem to be a push from NPCI side either, seeing the growth of digital transactions in India.

As a part of the pan-India Electronic Toll Collection(ETC) system, the Government intends to introduce tags to scan and proceed payment for the cars without them stopping at the booths.

How will it impact the commuters and the companies?

It is definitely a bad news for the digital wallet companies. Paytm and Mobikwik were looking to not only collaborate with the Government to provide easy payment solutions to the commuters, but also looking to growing their business at such basic places.

It is also a step backwards from the Digital India campaign the Government had launched to promote digitized versions of everything physical. This includes digital payments, which are growing at a staggering rate in the country. If even places like these do not have a digital payment service, then what else can be done to promote such campaigns.

Nitin Misra, Product head at Paytm, does not worry about such things. He is optimistic about the future of digital payments in this space and hopes there will be some workaround for the same. The Government is doing the best they could, and have promoted these companies a lot in the past as well.

As for the commuters, the only difference would be the time spent in recharging the tags through banks as compared to mobile wallets. The collection efforts will not change in any case and you can expect seamless movement through toll plazas.

Digital Wallet companies are sure that NHAI and NPCI will finally settle for Paytm, Mobikwik and Citrus, owing to the simple fact that most customers are comfortable with electronic transactions now and the user base is simply very high. Stay tuned for more news on this!

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