The demonetisation of 1000 Rs. and 500 Rs. notes by Prime Minister Narendra Modi is being hailed as a surgical strike against black money, and a push for digital money. Although that argument remains open, the fact is that the next few days are going to be quite inconvenient. With a clear majority of online transactions in India taking place on the basis of cash on delivery, many people were wondering how they would pay for their deliveries with the 1000 Rs. and 500 Rs. notes no longer legal tender.
It's something that the various e-commerce companies were also clearly thinking about, because this morning we saw that cash on delivery is being severely limited across the board. Amazon, for example, shows the message: "We have disabled COD for you to save cash for essential payments".
Flipkart shows a message stating that cash on delivery is not available - but we noticed that this message was only shown for items priced above Rs. 2,000. Snapdeal on the other hand also does the same, but additionally, displays a message reminding people that 1000 Rs. and 500 Rs. notes will not be accepted for deliveries.
We tried a few other stores, such as Paytm, which didn't seem to have consistent behaviour. Some items priced at over Rs. 2000 were available for CoD; others priced at under Rs. 500 did not have the option at all. Uber allows for cash payments, but the app reminds users that drivers will not accept 1000 Rs. and 500 Rs. notes.
Grofers appears to be accepting cash, with no warning messages. The same appears to be true for Ola. On the other hand, if you rely on Zomato or Swiggy for your snacking, you'll need to use an electronic payment method, as CoD is being disabled, to "avoid confusion".
We've reached out to the companies to find out how long this measure will be in place, and we will update this piece as and when the replies come in.
Will Rs. 500, Rs. 1000 notes demonetisation sway Indians away from cash? We discuss this on Orbital: The Gadgets 360 Podcast. You can either subscribe to via iTunes or RSS or just hit the play button below.