Indian Railways has tied-up with Citibank to offer EMI facility for e-ticket bookings on Indian Railway Catering and Tourism Corporation’s (IRCTC) portal, reports The Times of India. Users can now opt for EMI as a payment option, besides credit/debit card and net banking payment options. The payment needs to done using a Citibank credit card, wherein the entire amount is deducted from the card and users pay the bank in monthly installments.
Given that, at 2.4 million, Citibank has only 12.3% of India’s credit card base of 19.47 million, why hasn’t the IRCTC tied up with other banks for offer EMI? At the very least, it needs to tie-up with more banks, especially HDFC, ICICI and the State Bank of India – the three largest issuers of credit cards in the country, which account for 58.9% of India’s credit card base .
CoD for train tickets: IRCTC had reportedly announced plans of offering cash-on-delivery (CoD) payment option for buying railway tickets, in August this year. The service was to be made available through a partnership with BookMyTrain.com and was expected to go live within 4-6 weeks. At the time of writing this article, the BookMyTrain site still sports a “Coming Soon” message. This move could potentially have reduced travellers’ dependence on agents and enabled passengers in tier II and tier III cities without access to net banking or credit and debit cards or those wary of using it for online purchases, to book tickets on the IRCTC site.
Go-India smart card: Railway Minister Sadananda Gowda had also launched the Go-India smart card as a pilot project in 12 railway stations, in August. This had been first proposed three years back during the Railway Budget presentation. The Go-India smart card operates similar to smart cards available for Metro services around the country and can currently be used only at counters and Automatic Ticket Vending Machines (ATVMs) at 12 nominated stations, including New Delhi, Kanpur, Allahabad, Howrah, Kota and Mumbai Central among others.
Online wallet: Back in August 2012, IRCTC had also reportedly decided to launch an online wallet-like Rolling Deposit Scheme (RDS) for e-ticket bookings. IRCTC had said that the primary reason for introducing RDS was to counter the high failure rate in e-ticket booking due to the payment gateway issues. Users had to pay Rs 250 to open a RDS account and minimum deposits ranged between Rs 1500-2500.