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Card payments slow as people start swiping more after Demonetization

cardSwiping a debit or credit card at the local grocery store or supermarket is supposed to be the best way to beat the demonetization blues, but going by social media feedback, these networks are getting overloaded as well.

In fact, our own staff have found that they have had to swipe their cards 3 or 4 times for the transaction to go through. Sometimes, it doesn’t go through at all — especially in smaller shops which have only one point-of-sale or swiping machine.

“It took me 10 minutes to complete a card payment that normally would take 1 minute,” said Nisha Ramachandran, a resident of Kochi. Nisha was describing her experience at a local supermarket chain.

However, even though who use pan-India chains have reported having to try again and again to get their card transaction to go through.

Banking industry sources are indicating that this could be due to the tremendous load on the back-end servers.

Card transactions are estimated to have increased by 5 to 10 times compared to normal, while the infrastructure that the banks have provided at the back-end has not changed in most cases.

Some supermarket chains, such as More from Aditya Birla Group, also accept non-card, non-cash payments such as Paytm, which are running smoothly.

Another new payment system, UPI, is yet to be supported by most supermarkets and retail stores. UPI payment system is extremely simple to implement, and does not require any new hardware.

For now though, shoppers are more willing to spend an extra 5 minutes at the counter swiping their cards than standing in an ATM queue for 10 to 30 minutes to withdraw cash.

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