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Soon, you will be rewarded for cashless booking of tickets in Indian Railways
Indian Railways will soon offer incentives to passengers who use cashless mediums to pay for their tickets.
The Indian Railways already offers a 0.5% discount on purchase of monthly travel pass if the payment is made through debit and credit cards.
The same facility is likely to be extended to unreserved categories. The other incentives include offering free passenger insurance for cashless ticket purchases.
“We are trying to minimise the use of cash as much as possible. So, several incentives are being rolled out for passengers,” Mohd Jamshed, member-traffic, Rail Board said. “The financial burden of the incentives given is being borne by us.”
The railways is losing Rs 400 crore a year for waiving service charge on tickets bought through Indian Railway Catering and Tourism Corporation (IRCTC). Currently, 60% of the total yearly transactions in the passenger segment are cashless which has risen by over 20% since demonetisation.
Most of the digital transactions before November 2016 were done through the IRCTC portal. After demonetisation, the railways started providing point-ofsale (POS) machines at ticket counters and accepting payments through digital wallets. The railways is providing POS machines at all its 15,000 ticket counters.
It is now targeting to go cashless for 85-90% of total payments. The railways earnsRs 48,000 crore a year from passenger revenues and 95% of its transactions in the freight segment are cashless.
“Earlier, most of our cashless transactions were through IRCTC. Though that is still the case, we have also started accepting cards and BHIM at unreserved ticket counters. Railways is benefiting from it as we are reducing the cost of handling cash,” Jamshed said. Separately, the railways has urged banks to waive or sharply cut the charges on digital payments for rail tickets.
The national transporter has promised banks more business if they scrap or minimise the charges, called merchant discount rate (MDR), and said the move will encourage digital payments.
MDR is the rate charged to a merchant by a bank for providing debit and credit card services. It is based on factors such as volume, average ticket price, risk and the industry.
At present, IRCTC, which manages catering, tourism and online ticketing operations of the railways, passes on the MDR to consumers.