The Reserve Bank of India (RBI) has said that it has set up around 2.5 lakh POS (Point-Of-Sale) terminals and 55 lakh QR code acceptance points using funds from the PIDF Scheme. The operationalisation of the Payments Infrastructure Development Fund or PIDF Scheme in January 2021 was aimed at subsidizing the deployment of QR codes and card-swipe machines for small merchants, particularly in remote areas.
What is PIDF Scheme and its benefits
The RBI launched the PIDF scheme in India to further widen the scope of digital payments in the country. PIDF is intended to subsidize the deployment process of payment acceptance infrastructure across the country.
PIDF is expected to benefit merchants and banks by reducing the overall cost of payment infrastructure. It is valid for three years, starting from January 1, 2021, and may be extended for another two years if the need arises. Also, it is governed by the ex-officio advisory council.
The need for PIDF was felt because of lower merchant acceptance even after debit card issuances crossed the 90 crore mark. In traditional ways, banks always encouraged debit transactions to make the money stay longer with them. But the revenue did not justify the expenditure as the number of card-swipe machines in action was low.
Feeling the need to boost the infrastructure, the RBI created PIDF that includes contributions from card-issuing banks, the central bank, and payment networks. As per the statement issued on November 16, 2021, the following table showcases the contributions received from different parties involved:
|Authorised card networks||Rs. 153.72 crores|
|Card issuing banks||Rs. 210.17 crores|
|Reserve Bank of India||Rs. 250.00 crores|
|Total||Rs. 613.89 crores|
Payments acceptance devices deployed under PIDF
Till the end of September 2021, around 40% of the total physical devices (98,504 out of 2,45,942) were deployed in Tier-3 and Tier-4 centres. On the other hand, Tier-5 and Tier-6 centres received around 35% deployment (84,968 out of 2,45,942). North-eastern states were also covered under this scheme with the deployment of 7% physical devices (18,449).
The following table shows the deployment status of digital devices under the PIDF Scheme:
|Location||Digital Devices Count|
|Tier 3 and Tier 4 Centres||20,46,075|
|Tier 5 and Tier 6 Centres||30,47,750|
|Tier 1 and Tier 2 Centres (under PM SWANidhi Scheme)||2,00,708|
*Digital devices = Interoperable QR codes, such as Bharat QR and UPI QR
**Physical devices = POS, mPOS (mobile POS), PSTN (Public Switched Telephone Network), GPRS (General Packet Radio Service), etc.
The way ahead
Continuing with the progress, the RBI aims to target a further increase in payments acceptance infrastructure by 30 lakh touch points every year under PIDF.