With over 70 per cent of passenger reservations happening online, the Railways has expanded its electronic payment choices. The Indian Railways Catering and Tourism Corporation (IRCTC), a public sector unit of the national transporter that front-ends online booking, now offers 53 ways, including cash-on-delivery (COD), to make payments for e-bookings.

Paytm leads the pack, accounting for 14 per cent of the total number of online payments.

About seven lakh e-tickets are booked each day in the reserved segment, of which almost one lakh are paid for via Paytm, an IRCTC official told BusinessLine .

Two years back, Paytm pipped HDFC Bank to emerge as the leader in this space. It was helped by the rapid rise in mobile use, and people quickly warming up to mobile wallets. Paytm, one of the first prominent mobile wallet players in the country. offers various discounts and cash-back offers, making it a popular e-payment mode among railway passengers.

“In digitisation, we have fared the best among all government arms. Even from the 1990s, we had the Passenger Reservation System. E-ticket booking in the reserved segment has touched 70 per cent of overall booking, from 58 per cent during demonitisation,” said Mohammad Jamshed, Member-Traffic, Indian Railways.

Other payment modes

The 53 modes of payment include wallets, banks, apps like BHIM, netbanking, and credit and debit cards.

In netbanking, some new entrants such as Airtel Payments Bank often come up with special offers. There are also cash-cards and mobile wallets such as iCASH Card, Paytm Wallet, Ola Money Wallet and SBI Buddy.

Daily online bookings on IRCTC could go upwards of 7.8 lakh tickets, with sales peaking between 11 am and 12 noon, a perusal of February 2018 booking data shows. About 1.61 lakh bookings can be transacted online during the peak hour. During rush hours, over 17,000 tickets can be sold in a minute.