It’s always a good idea to step out with some cash when going to buy out vegetables and groceries, but more and more neighbourhood kirana shops seem to be now accepting digital payments as customers are keen for contactless transactions in the Covid-19 world.

Payment companies have reported a surge in digital transactions for buying essential goods since the lockdown began, and more and more fintechs are now working with mom-and-pop stores to enable them to transact digitally.

Many of these shops have already armed themselves with UPI-based payments solutions, and the National Payments Corporation of India has said that it is being used popularly at grocery stores and supermarkets.

On Tuesday, fintech PayNearby announced it has expanded its hyper-local discovery and purchase application ‘BuyNearby’ for pan-India operations with IndusInd Bank as the digital payment partner.

The app has helped over two lakh kirana shops across the country take their stores online, it said in a release.

“Besides local kiranas , the platform hosts a wide range of retailers, including grocery stores, pharmacies, sweet stores, supermarkets, milk and dairy products, branded specialty stores, gift shops, and meat shops, among others thus catering to a wide range of customer needs,” it further said.

Paytm last week announced that its ‘Business Khata’ had recorded over ₹1,500 crore of payments since the launch of the services in January this year.

“During the ongoing lockdown, the service has witnessed four-fold growth both in terms of new merchants and the total number of daily transactions,” it had said.

Other players also point out that with concerns over spread of the coronavirus through contact with currency and ATM cards, more customers prefer digital payments to buy essentials.

“There are only so many times that a credit or debit card can be sanitised, or you can give out exact change. Also, digital payments are helpful for contactless delivery services that are being widely used,” noted a payment player.