India, like many countries in south and southeast Asia, is a society where cash is king. By volume, cash transactions in India make up 98 per cent of all transactions (by value, it’s around 75 per cent). In part, this reliance on paper-and-coin currency is because the infrastructure for cashless transactions just doesn’t exist to the same extent it does in countries like the U.S. and China. Whereas the ratio of point of sale machines to people is one for every 25 people in the U.S. and one for every 60 people in China, it’s only one for every 1,785 people in India. It’s not the desire to pay without cash that’s lacking; it’s the ability.
But all that is beginning to change.