A world of just online money: The future is already here

There was a time when one would ask the question — is a cashless economy possible? Today, that question hasn’t just been answered, it has been won over.

PCQ Bureau
New Update
Vijay Shekhar Sharma

By Vijay Shekhar Sharma, Founder & CEO, One97 Communications & Paytm


There was a time when one would ask the question — is a cashless economy possible? Today, that question hasn’t just been answered, it has been won over. With the advancements in technology, we are living in a cashless world where digital payments and financial services have revolutionized the way people transact.

In the past 20 years, cash, or physical money as we know it, has once again undergone a transformation. With the advent of the online world powered by smartphones, technology is highly accessible, efficient, and economical – thereby boosting adoption. India then further accelerated the adoption of the Internet, riding on its rich demographic dividend.

We, at Paytm, have been driving financial inclusion with products that bring convenience and ease to consumers and merchant partners across the country. We are proud to have pioneered QR code payments in the country, which are today seen at every merchant’s counter to easily accept money from their customers. The Paytm Wallet became the point of seamless adoption for the users to become more aware of the online banking platforms – thereby seamlessly adopting multiple technologies on a single platform – to satiate their financial needs – from payments to deposits to investments to shopping to wealth management. Today, we have our own payment instruments that enable Indians with the flexibility to transact with Paytm Wallet, Paytm UPI, Paytm Postpaid (Buy Now, Pay Later), and net banking through Paytm Payments Bank and much more.


The age of online money is here and your smartphone is the doorway. It offers seamless storage and exchange of value, accepted widely owing to interoperable technologies; but more importantly, is highly secure, mobile, and indestructible. The biggest challenge online money has solved is to introduce a footprint to the money movement – something which was entirely missing in the physical cash and adds to the legitimacy and social value of online money usage.

The world is increasingly going virtual. Online money has perhaps solved the greatest problem in today’s world – interoperability in a world full of borders. Your bank account seamlessly transfers or loads money to your respective app(s) which can be used to transact across geographies, sectors, and establishments – across physical, digital, and physical touchpoints. Online money has become the portal to diverse metaverses in a new age always-on world.

India, being a dominant cash economy too has witnessed green shoots of accelerated online money adoption. As per the recent survey by RBI titled ‘Retail Payment Habits in India’, 41% opt for digital payments while 44% of respondents receive money digitally. The important finding from the survey comprising 6,000+ respondents is the preference to use online money for expenses or transfers above Rs. 500 by more than 50% of respondents. This signals an inflection point for the adoption of online money. Given the government’s thrust on Digital India and the seamless interaction of technologies, the change will be much faster than expected.

The future is already here and like online money, it is secure and open to possibilities. 

This is part of our PCQuest 35 Years Series on the Yesterday, Today & Tomorrow of Technology.