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Internet ban hits e-payments, traders prefer to accept cash

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The Internet ban has badly affected e-payments in Jammu and Kashmir since August 5 last year.

The restoration of 2G Internet services has also failed to encourage card payments in the Union Territory.

Despite restoration of the 2G Internet for the white-listed websites, particularly for banking sites, traders avoid receiving payments through PoS (point of sale) machines in Jammu.

The government restored the 2G Internet services in parts of Jammu and Kashmir on January 24 after five months, but allowed access to only white-listed sites, including banking websites. The decision was taken to encourage online transactions as the economy of Jammu and Kashmir was working on cash only since August 5, 2019, when the 4G Internet services were snapped in Jammu and Kashmir and broadband in Kashmir and five districts of the Jammu region.

Even after restoration of the 2G Internet, most of the traders refuse to accept card payments from customers in Jammu, saying the machine does not work on 2G.

“We cannot take the risk of accepting card payments on the 2G Internet as there are high chances that the payments will be declined. The government has restored Internet for banking, but whenever a transaction is declined, we have to convince the customer to pay in cash, which creates chaos and disrupts our business,” said a dry fruit merchant at Gumat Bazaar in Jammu.

“We will start accepting card payments only after proper restoration of the 4G Internet services in Jammu and Kashmir,” he said.

Many shopkeepers are, however, accepting cards as they are using broadband Internet.

A manager in a private bank, on the condition of anonymity, said there was no problem in accepting card payments on the 2G Internet in Jammu city. He, however, said the outskirts of Jammu city was facing some network problem.“The merchants who are not accepting cards are trying to avoid the POS fee and they also want to transact in cash,” he said.

The frequent cash transaction in Jammu and Kashmir has again led the UT to the cash economy. A petrol pump owner in Jammu said 60 per cent of his customers had started paying through card or e-wallet before August 5 last year, but now only 10 per cent paid though the card.

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