The number of point of sale (POS) machines increased to 3.59 million in December 2018, up 19% from 3.03 million in December last year, according to data published by the RBI. Note that the RBI data only shows machine statistics from banks and does not include the number of devices from third-party players like MSwipe, Ezetap, ItzCash and Oxigen.
The rise in the number of POS machines was due to a concentrated effort by the government to improve the number of terminals, following the demonetization of Rs 1000 and Rs 500 notes in 2016. 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, Axis Bank, Ratnakar Bank, HDFC Bank and ICICI Bank continued to have the highest number of POS terminals, accounting for almost 71% of all terminals in the country. In addition, Ratnakar Bank has 0.65 million (652,068) machines, which is the highest among the top five banks.
Prior to demonetization, there were around 1.5 million POS machines. In December 2018, that number has now climbed to 3.59 million.
The impact of demonetization could be seen between November 2016 and March 2017. In this period, more than 1 million POS machines were installed. In terms of net additions, the number of POS machines grew by 0.08 million (81,565) in December 2018. In the previous month (November 2018), the number of POS machines had increased by 0.06 million (60,504).