Ethical Cashless Evangelism

UPDATE : A detailed document by @skchinmayi expanded from this blogpost is now available

This is starter guide to ethical cashless evangelism in post demonetization times.

While people are debating on cashless and demonetization all over, what we need to also realize is that, this is a disaster / crisis situation. Analysis of what led to it, who caused it etc could be done later, what is need of the hour is to rescue people from crisis.

Lack of cash, long queues in ATM, No change for ₹2000 notes, lower spending leading to lower quality of life, job losses, deaths :(. So while we are frustrated by sign of things, governmental response etc, we must pause for sometime and see how we can help in crisis situation.

Some of us have wide options of cashless and are researching more and more on cashless and see the risks of getting fully on board onto cashless with privacy, surveillance, economic implications that pose risks not just to us individuals, but to the entire economy. The government has been promoting cashless from its side as a solution to easen the crisis / strategic planning. (We will know it sooner or later). Cashless needs to be evangelized, so does the negatives of it and leave it to the individual to take a call.

People really need solutions that is workable. If installing PayTM / UPI will help them transact and move on with their lives, they need help in doing that. But when you are helping onboard people on to cashless economy through apps, do let them know enough information for them to understand what they are getting into. Its up to them to decide and use these systems or not.

I installed UPI app for my vegetable seller (If you realize, he has to have android mobile for this) and here is what I told him while on boarding. He was already signed up by a payments company, but the onboarding wasnt proper and all they have done is pasted few stickers and went. Nothing works. Its been 45 days, no payments made through it.

  • Simplified the basic functionality of UPI by saying its like creating email like address for payment linked to his bank account.
  • He was really fascinated by QRCodes. Printed some for him.
  • There was also an increased confidence when he saw his bank account listed.
  • He wanted to transact too, although he would majorly receive payments
  • Told him about merchant services, current account in bank, banks might call him if he is exceeding velocity check thresholds and there might be charges after that.
  • Told him there is no call center (no phone based customer support) for failed transactions, he could raise query / dispute through the app.
  • Told him to never share MPIN, debit card, phone, all together with anyone.
  • Told him he would get SMS for each transaction (particular PSP does it).
  • He choose the UPI app, he was bombarded by ads on newspaper and he was glad that he too could use it. He didnt have sufficient confidence to install and setup though. (Note, he had atleast one ecommerce app, but I am not sure if he tried any orders).
  • Shall give my mobile number and be available for support till he gets comfortable. (I anyway visit him every 2-3 days for my vegetables)

I also did a similar session with my dad, to setup UPI app on his phone, told him he could use that in case of emergency. For him it was more a smartphone version of IMPS / interbank transfer and he could now transfer funds to me / viceversa without opening laptop.

This is what I did. It would be good to have an editable ethical cashless evangelism guide with multiple perspectives and the above list could be a start.

I believe, change (a fair cashless system, far from what we have today) is possible only through engagement, hence #CashlessConsumer. The only option to survive with technology is getting on board and steering it our way, instead of resisting technology. Educating others and sharing knowledge is also key to have everyone using systems have fair understanding of them.

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