Money & Banking

Cash is king in towns, even as metros go digital

Surabhi Mumbai | Updated on February 12, 2021

According to experts, over the next few years, cash in circulation will grow in line with GDP growth as India is a predominantly cash economy

CMS Info data show cash use in urban area hit by the pandemic, lockdown

Cash continues to be king in most small cities and towns even as the dependence on hard currency has dipped in metro cities.

“Data show that in urban centrescash consumption has come down as they were hit more by the Covid-19 pandemic and had more lockdowns,” said Rajiv Kaul, Executive Vice-Chairman, Chief Executive Officer, and Whole Time Director at CMS Info Systems.

Numbers tracked by CMS Info Systems, which is an ATM and cash management company, reveal that there is a dip of about 20 per cent in cash usage in metro cities, but there is flat growth or even an increase of 8 per cent to 10 per cent in other cities, said Kaul.

However, from a macro perspective, cash in circulation is up 20 per cent in the last nine to 10 months, said Kaul, adding that this is not abnormal as in times of crisispeople tend to hoard more money.

According to CMS data, currency in circulation in January this year was at ₹27.99-lakh crore, which is about 21.8 per cent higher than the ₹22.97-lakh crore currency in circulation in January last year.

“Digital is growing at about 30 per cent to 40 per cent, but cash is also growing at 14 per cent,” said Kaul, adding that there is a fairly healthy growth outside metros like Delhi and Mumbai.

This could possibly be because of reverse migration where people have moved back to smaller towns as well as some increase in discretionary spends.

Ties up with SBI

State Bank of India has moved its entire network to a Multi-Vendor Software (MVS) solutions implemented by CMS Info Systems. The solution was built for SBI by CMS and is running across its entire 40,000 ATM network and has helped centralise the bank’s ATM channel management.

“MVS solutions gives customised services and the customer will get the same experience across all ATMs. So, it helps in faster transactions,” said Kaul, adding that it can also help convert an ATM from cost centre to revenue centre by offering additional products to the customer.

CMS won the project almost 18 to 20 months ago, and it has now been running successfully for the last four to five months.

This seven-year deal is worth over ₹500 crore for CMS.

Other banks are also in talks on MVS solutions with CMS now, said Kaul.

Published on February 12, 2021

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