What is fuelling this optimism (shown by Paytm and other companies) is that India is the second largest market for smartphones behind China. This has coincided with a rapid rise in internet users. The country presently has more than 450 million internet users, a number expected to touch 700 million by 2020.
But despite this sharp uptick in mobile and online payments, this overall user base is still very small for a country with a population of 1.25 billion people. And India still has a long way to go to before it can become a major cashless economy.
The country has more than 24 million credit cards and 650 million debit cards. The number of debit cards has been growing steadily but most people only use them to withdraw money from ATMs instead of using them to make payments.
If so, India’s credit card penetration is about 2%. US equivalent is about 133%.
— Horace Dediu (@asymco) November 25, 2016