Cashless at IIT Bombay, by paying through ITZ Cash NFC tags

As one of my friends from IIT Bombay puts it 'Being cashless might not be a new thing at IIT Bombay amongst student community' but being able to still pay all the time without getting into credit cycle is a wonderful first. This is enabled by Power to Pay NFC tags from ITZ Cash Card Ltd., and company calls it an innovation in cashless micropayments.

Power to Pay NFC tags for mobile phones were first developed for a pilot at IIT Bombay for students and faculty. These tags were used at various outlets within the campus for day-to-day purchases via the RuPay payments network. The objective of this project was to test micro payments in a cashless manner. The partners in this project were: ItzCash Card Limited, Canara Bank, National Payments Corporation of India (RuPay) and Indian Institute of Technology Bombay.

The system uses NFC tags attached on the back of mobile phones to enable micropayments. It is a grass root program to introduce tech-savvy university students to the benefits of electronic payments. At the time of enrollment/admission students are issued the tags which are valid up to 5 years. Students can paste the tags to their mobile phone, ID card or just carry it in their wallets to make transactions. A user can load amounts between INR 50 (~$1) up to INR 5,000 (~$80) with the monthly transaction limit set at INR 10,000 (~$160).

Students generally, use their Power to pay tags for on-campus low amount purchases, such as food, stationery at the merchants within the campus. The tags can be loaded through reload points from merchants at no cost or can be loaded online. Funds can also be loaded via cash through the reload network comprising of ItzCash franchisees or through bank transfers at no costs.

Power to Pay under this pilot at IIT Bombay has witnessed over 1500 transactions a month, has 35 signed merchants, and 2000 registered students.

LTP View: Introduction of such a pilot to the students of IIT Bombay, might be a good move. This may help increase awareness amongst the student community to understand how cashless payments work and the technology behind NFC. Increased awareness among the student community could soon lead to a wide scale adoption of cashless payments in India. A similar move has been tried out by Clinkle at Stanford University in USA.