Digital payments continued to be robust in March with some decline due to the lockdown across the country in the wake of the coronavirus pandemic.

Significantly, it was only Bharat BillPay that registered a growth in transactions last month as more consumers went online to pay their utility bills during the home isolation.

As many as 1.58 crore transactions were undertaken on the Bharat BillPay platform in March, amounting to ₹1,953.55 crore, according to data released by the National Payments Corporation of India. In February, 1.49 crore transactions were conducted on the platform, processing ₹1,957.40 crore.

According to NPCI, more than 18,000 schools and colleges have also been onboarded to the Bharat BillPay platform and are expected to go live in April and May. This is likely to further spur transactions through the channel.

Transactions by the government’s flagship BHIM UPI declined to 125 crore in March, amounting to ₹2.06-lakh crore. It was much higher at 133 crore transactions, totalling ₹2.22-lakh crore, in February.

Similarly, transactions through the Immediate Payment Service (IMPS) also registered a decline in terms of volume and amount in March. The data revealed that a total of 21.68 crore transactions were processed through IMPS, amounting to ₹2.01-lakh crore last month. In contrast, total transactions stood at 24.78 crore in February, processing a total of ₹2.14-lakh crore.

Transactions through Aadhar-Enabled Payment System (AePS) also declined to 18.18 crore last month from 21.67 crore in February. The amount processed through AePS in March was ₹10,170.31 crore, compared to ₹11,389.24 crore in February.

With the national lockdown limiting movement to only that of essential goods, transactions through NETC FAStags also declined to 8.45 crore in March, amounting to ₹1,421 crore. It stood at 11 crore transactions, processing ₹1,841.22 crore of payments in February.

The Reserve Bank of India and banks have been encouraging users to make payments through digital channels rather than leave their homes at this time. Many payment players have also expected higher volumes, but noted that transactions for sectors such as hospitality and air tickets have declined in recent weeks.