18 February, 2019
Today, we live in a highly digitized and connected world. This has enhanced the way we live, make our purchases, communicate with people around, learn, watch movies or live action, work, book tickets and more. No facet of our life has not been touched by the Internet and the mobile device. As with all technology advances, there are many pros and many cons to the use of technology as well. However, despite initial resistance, we do see that many seniors are taking to technology slowly, as they realize the convenience of using the same.
One of the most important areas where technology has helped ease a lot of things is for making payments. Earlier, we used to have mainly two options of cash and cheque. We also have the bank Demand Draft that can be availed from the bank. However, today the story is so different and a rather pleasing one.
Almost all of India has a bank account now, because of the Prime Minister’s Jan Dhan Yojana. It also means that they also have access to a debit/ATM card for sure. One of the most convenient ways of making payments today is by using your debit card. This means that you are using your own money, available in the linked bank account to make the payments. Debit cards are widely accepted in almost all places, including online e-tailers. In fact, in certain purchases, you may also get special discounts, because of the card as well.
Another easy and safe way of making payment is to use the credit card. The only hitch with credit cards is that you are spending money, which is not yours at the moment; you will have to pay it back to the card issuer bank, within a specified period. The bank charges you, a specified interest rate for ‘lending’ that amount to you and it increases by the day if you delay the payments. On the other hand, if you need to make a purchase, for which your debit card may not suffice, then a credit card can come in handy, especially in any emergency.
The Government of India is pushing people to go cashless and digital and is taking many steps in this direction. One of the evolutions in this direction has been what is called the Digital or the Mobile Wallet. Examples of this are companies like Paytm, PhonePe, Tez, Mobikwik, PayUMoney, CitrusPay, etc. There are minor technical differences between a mobile wallet and digital wallet, but that is beyond the purview here as we are talking only about usage. The wallet is equivalent to carrying virtual money, and it can be linked to your bank accounts or cards as well.
Most merchants, including even roadside vendors, nowadays, accept payments using mobile wallets. The payments here can be of very small amounts like 10 rupees and even more significant amounts, under a specified limit as per the RBI guidelines, based on approval received by that particular wallet provider. These apps can be downloaded on your phone and will be linked to your phone number or email. The money can be transferred to the wallet from your bank account, and even person to person money transfer can be done easily. There are QR codes or OTPs that can be used to make payments using wallets. Most wallets also offer heavy discounts and loyalties as well.
You can pay bills, make purchases, book tickets for movies, or trains, bus and even air travel using these. Your phone recharges can also be done easily using these wallets.
Bank transfers are another easy and safe way of making payments today. For many regular bill payments like electricity, water, phone, etc., one can provide standing instructions to banks, and the said amount will be transferred from our account to the designated account, at the designated time. Usually, standing instructions are given to make the EMI payments, when loans are taken as well.
You may also use personal online banking and transfer money to people or organizations of your choice for any needs, using this method. Many schools and colleges are now accepting bank transfers for fee payments. You may also use bank transfers to make salary payments to your staff, including household staff if you have any.
Points to consider
While using any other mode of transfer other than cash and cheque, it is always better to be careful. The dont’s to be noted are:
1. Do not share your bank or card details with anyone unless you are sure about the recipient and is a verified personally.
2. Do not share your PIN details or OTP with anyone at any cost.
3. Overcall, do not provide any bank or financial information to anyone claiming to be from the bank. Banks do not call and ask you for any such information; usually, fraudsters and scamsters do.
4. If you are using mobile or digital wallets, keep it logged off on the device after use. Also, ensure the device too has a lock password or pattern so that, in the worst event of the phone being lost, no one can access your funds. There are safety measures built in, but it is best to be careful from your side as well.
5. Double or cross-check the phone numbers while transferring amounts through mobile or digital wallets. The same should be done in the case of bank account numbers and IFSC codes while using online banking. There are many instances when money has been transferred to the wrong people and then getting it back would be a real struggle.
6. Do not share your cards (debit or credit) and their PINS with anyone, even if it is a one time use of ATM etc. to withdraw money. In a worst-case scenario, please ensure to change the password immediately.
7. If your cards or phone is lost, please inform the bank and the police immediately for necessary action.
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