Why Restaurants and Cafes in Nepal are Short of Cash?

When you go to restaurants and cafes, how do you usually pay? Cash or digital wallet? Most probably digital wallets such as eSewa, Khalti, IME Pay, Paywell, Moru, PrabhuPAY, CGPay, Dpaisa and I-pay. Nepalese have started not carrying cash with them. And that’s why restaurants and cafes in Nepal are short of cash.

So, how did Nepalese go from carrying the bulk of money in the purse to just flaunting their phones?

Even though the existence of digital wallets was present in the market since 2009, the hype of it was started in the Coronavirus Pandemic period. As soon as the lockdown started, the fear among people rose. People started to take extra care of their hygiene, maintain social distancing, and remain isolated as much as possible.

In those fearful times, people avoided going to the supermarket, and other shopping for luxury. Utilizing that phase, the e-commerce platforms were proliferating. They were delivering the products customer wanted but most of the time did not accept cash. They usually partner with the digital wallet in which consumers were forced to download the digital wallets to pay the due amount.

Daraz, the most used e-commerce platform in Nepal, tries to convince its users to pay digitally rather than cash on delivery. When we choose the option of paying in cash, they charge extra Nrs. 10. So, we can see how it is compelling the users to use various digital wallets.

Moreover, the ridesharing apps like Pathao, Indriver, Tootle, Easy Taxi Nepal, Sarathi, and Taximandu were also prevailing in the market. The riders also wanted to take payment from digital wallets as it was easier. Most of the time, they did not have enough changes and in that case, using wallets was easier. In an electronic wallet, we can not only send rupees (1.0) but also paisa (0.1). So, it was more convenient for the users.

Pathao has Khalti as their sponsor and the riders only accept digital money in the Khalti app. This made users forced to install Khalti for easy transactions. As users got used to digital money, the lockdown was uplifted. Slowly, we could see rising demand for users to put QR codes in grocery shops and other marts.

Shopkeepers also started to follow the trend and begin to put QR codes for the transaction. It excuses them to find enough changes for everyone who shops. It made it convenient for consumers as well as storekeepers. In addition, tempo also started printing the QR code. So, in each ride on tempo, people simply have to scan the QR code and pay a small amount like NRs. 20, 25, 30, or 35.

Moving on, many people started to not hold cash and carry their purses. They would pay everywhere with digital wallets. Also, various coupons and discount on digital wallets was a special offer for users. It attracted them and helped to stay on the platform and not shift to cash payment. In the Nepali market, NRs. 36.86 trillion was digitally transacted in the first 9 months of fiscal year 2077-2078 according to the Nepal Rastra Bank (NRB).

Now, people who use cash started to have problems. Specially, our parents and grandparents as well as others who are not technology-friendly could not use the digital wallet. They still carry the bulk of cash with them. When they go to restaurants and cafes, cafes do not have enough changes to give them causing difficulty.

While most people are happy to just scan the QR code, the other group of people (children and older people) are having problems with the changes in technology. Some of the shops and remote places of Nepal still use cash for the transaction but slowly they are also trying to adapt to the prevailing technology.

Overall, in major cities of Kathmandu, we can see less cash and more QR codes which is why restaurants and cafes in Nepal are short of cash.

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