Cashless deals up 300%; big demand for PoS devices: SBI chief

Point of Sale (PoS) transactions in State Bank of India have surged 300 per cent in numbers and 200 per cent by value, indicating that digital transactions have really gone up, SBI chairperson Arundhati Bhattacharya said on Thursday.

"Digital transactions have really gone up in the sense that if you look at my PoS transactions, it is 300 per cent up in numbers and 200 per cent by value," Bhattacharya told reporters in Coimbatore in response to a query on increased cashless transactions in the country's largest lender.  

"If you take a look at the wallet, the wallet download is hugely up. In fact, we have never seen so many wallet downloads, which itself is more than 100 per cent.

"Typical transaction levels have surged and we are seeing a huge demand. A lot of people are coming to us for PoS machines," she said.

For instance, the Bombay Doctor's Association had this week requested the bank for 650 PoS machines for use in doctors' chambers, she pointed out.

Similarly, a lot of corporate houses were asking for Impress Cards for low value payment to many of their contract workers, even for people like drivers who were given cash to tank up cars. They can be given Impress Cards, Bhattacharya said.

SBI is installing 3,600 PoS machines at various toll plazas so people can use cards instead of cash at the tolls, she said, adding there was a lot of activity currently going on for installing PoS machines and issuance of cards.

"The amount that is coming into the bank (from public) will not remain with it. We expect around 10 to 15 per cent of it to remain in the bank, but the rest will have to go back because it was in the economy," Bhattacharya said.

Asked if there would be a decrease in lending rates from banks, she said banks follow a timetable on certain things.

"So we have to see what is the cost of deposits on the 24th of each month, and thereafter, the cost of lending will be determined on the 1st of next month. This is what we are doing," she said.

On recalibration of ATMs to dispense new currencies, she said 60 per cent of the ATMs were recalibrated and the remaining would be completed in five days.

Asked if demonetisation was another way of recapitalising banks, she said, "How will it recapitalise banks? Frankly speaking, demonetisation has nothing to do with recapitalisation.

"The fact of the matter is it is not even known whether the government will directly benefit from demonetisation as is being made out by some people in the media. But definitely what will happen is revenue income of the government will go up."

On education loans, she said customers availing such loans need to repay to banks as they in turn need to pay depositors.

"If I do not recover the student loan, how will I give back the depositors money? As a depositor will you waive your interest? It cannot happen. Therefore, if you take a loan, you have to pay it back," she said.