The number of point-of-sale (POS) machines in July 2017 stood at 28,40,113 growing 96.7% year-on-year, Reserve Bank of India (RBI) data showed. In July 2016, the number of POS machines stood at 1,443,899. Note that the RBI data only shows machine statistics from banks and does not include the number devices from third-party players like MSwipe, Ezetap, ItzCash and Oxigen.

The rise in the number of POS machines has due to a concentrated effort by the government to improve the number of terminals following the demonetization of Rs 1000 and Rs 500 notes. During the 2017-18 budget, finance minister Arun Jaitley reiterated the goal of setting up 10 lakh POS terminals in the country. However, there is still a concentration of POS from the top banks in the country.  State Bank of India, ICICI Bank, HDFC Bank, Axis Bank and Corporation Bank continued to have the highest number of POS terminals accounting for more than 70% of all terminals in the country. However, the concentration has fallen since last year as these banks accounted for over 80% of POS terminals in the country.

Among the newer banks adding machines, RBL Bank’s devices stood at 227,530 while Bank of Baroda’s machines stood at 101,758.

According to a 2015 Ernst and Young report, there were only 693 machines per million of India’s population, compared to similar emerging countries such as Brazil, which has 32,995 terminals per million people and China and Russia, each of which has around 4000 terminals per million people. However, the number of debit cards in circulation is over 800 million.

Co-operative banks can set up POS machines as well

Meanwhile, the RBI said that co-operative banks in India will now be permitted to deploy their own and third-party POS terminals. However, the RBI placed some requirements for co-operative banks to deploy their own terminals. They need to have a minimum net worth of Rs 25 crore with gross non-performing assets (NPAs) less than 7% and net NPAs than 3% in the preceding financial year. The RBI also said that there should not be any default in maintaining cash reserve ratio (CRR) and statutory liquidity requirements (SLR) in the preceding financial year.