The number of point of sale (POS) machines increased to 4.25 million in July 2019, up 30% from 3.27 million in July last year, according to data published by the Reserve Bank of India (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, the then finance minister Arun Jaitley had reiterated the goal of setting up 10 lakh POS terminals in the country.
But there is still a concentration of POS machines by a few banks. State Bank of India, Axis Bank, Ratnakar Bank, HDFC Bank and ICICI Bank continue to have the highest number of POS terminals in July 2019, accounting for almost 72% of all terminals in the country. Ratnakar Bank has 0.88 million (882,994) machines, which is the highest among the top five banks.
Prior to demonetization, there were around 1.5 million POS machines. In July 2019, that number has now climbed to 4.25 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 0.18 million (183,896) in July 2019. In the previous month (June 2019), the number of POS machines had increased by 0.22 million (223,843).