India is leading the world in terms of the adoption of digital methods of transacting. Today you can pay online for your shopping, transfer money online, invest and monitor your portfolio online and also take loans online. Gone are the days when one had to carry cash. Nowadays even a pan shop accepts payments digitally.
The government needs to be lauded for the push to digital payments which has made life convenient for everybody. No more does one need to look for an ATM or search for exact change to pay for something.
Digital transactions are also quicker and more secure. It also becomes easy to track transactions as there is a record for everything digital. Keeping cash is not only unsafe but cumbersome as well. For any government, having digital records would mean a lesser opportunity of tax evasion or under-reporting of income by citizens.
However, sometimes the ease of transacting can actually hamper your financial life. The biggest disadvantage of digital transaction is overspending. One doesn’t give a second thought to the amount being spent when it is being paid by pushing a button. Consumers also do not mind paying more when paying digitally. When you pay by cash, you have a limited amount available and would be more sensitive to the prices.
Also, psychologically, when you see money going away, you always tend to think of value for money. Further, tools like artificial intelligence which track consumer behaviour will only get individuals to spend more.These days there are many apps which give loans and EMI option is available for purchases beyond a specific amount. The easy availability of credit causes people to take on loans much beyond what their income capacity, pushing them into a debt trap. Investment apps and portfolio tracking sites have become very popular.
However, when investors start tracking daily values of investments, they could end up making the wrong decisions. I am getting a lot of queries from investors on exiting mutual funds because of volatile returns. Essentially, over tracking portfolios can lead investors to be short-sighted with their investments.
Investors also do not read terms and conditions carefully while transacting digitally. For example, while booking airline tickets, some airlines add an insurance cover which needs to be opted out from. But many consumers do not pay attention to details as the amounts involved are small. Take the case of buying gold online through e-commerce platforms. When you buy gold digitally, you incur making charges twice: first, when you convert the digital goldto physical gold and then when you use the physical gold to make ornaments. Furthur digital gold can only be held for up to 5 years.
Photo Credit: Deccanherald
Source: Article written by Mrin Agarwal in Deccan Herald
Originally published on: 01 Sep 2019