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ALTHOUGH THERE has been a surge in the number of small vendors in the city adopting e-wallets and point-of-sale card swipe machines to combat the cash crunch, it hasn’t come without its own set of problems. From facing network connectivity issues to even losing money over half-processed transactions, small vendors say that it will take some getting used to, for the technology to settle in.
Puneet Sharma, owner of Murli Bhel House, who runs three chaat shops in the city said that he has been facing severe network connectivity issues over the last few days with his e-wallet provider. “On November 12, I got an e-wallet installed after suffering losses for three days since none of the customers had change with them to pay for the snacks. For the first few days, it worked quite well but off late, we are facing issues with server connection. Payments are not getting processed, the application gets hanged. The worst is that we are losing money since many times it shows transaction pending and customers leave after waiting for sometime saying that the money will come into the account but it doesn’t come even later,” he said.
The network or connectivity issues isn’t restricted to just mobile wallets but POS machines as well. Pravin Gangarde, owner of Miya Murg, a non-veg eatery in Model Colony, complained that the card-swipe machine has started to develop glitches apparently due to additional load on the servers of the service provider. “Since the demonetisation announcement, almost 50 per cent of our business has gone cashless, which is a good thing. However, we have to struggle a lot as the card swipe machine has started to give trouble. There are connectivity issues most of the time as the use of cashless mode for transactions has gone up. We are also trying to cope with this by supplementing it with mobile wallet facilities,” said Gangarde.
While connectivity issues have started to crop up, another thing that is pinching small vendors are the transaction charges. “There are no charges to transfer money from one wallet to another. But there is about one per cent charge to transfer money from my wallet to my bank account. For big vendors, this may not mean much. But consider people like us who live off small transactions. I sell cigarettes along with tea and my profit is only 6 per cent. If I give one per cent of that towards processing charge, it means a considerable loss to me,” said Laxman Kachi, a tea seller, near Old Sangvi Bus Stop.
Add to this, initial teething issues like a fixed upper limit for customers who have not linked bank accounts or completed know your customer (KYC). “When I installed the e-wallet, on the first day itself I had crossed the maximum limit allowed for transactions. I didn’t know that there was such a thing and was in a fix when my customers kept coming and asking me to take e-payment. Though I have that sorted out now but there is the issue of transaction costs,” said Tushar Bodke, a teaseller outside Infosys in Hinjewadi.