If you have visited a post office, chances are that you might have struggled for change while buying stamps or paying for registered posts. While there is a strong push everywhere towards digital transactions, post offices seem to be lagging far behind. Even though QR codes have been provided by the India Post, staff often do not accept digital payments citing logistical reasons.
The General Post Office (GPO), the biggest in the city, is no exception, according to frequent visitors. “I had been to GPO to get franking (postage printing) for around 60 registered posts I had to send out. While the process went by smoothly, I was under the impression that I could do a digital payment. However, the staff later informed me that they do not accept digital payment and I had to run to the nearest ATM to draw cash,” said Vijay Kumar, a businessman.
At another post office in Thippasandra, a customer was forced to buy more stamps simply because the staff did not have change or digital payment modes. “All I needed was a few stamps and even though I carried cash, I had to buy more stamps than was necessary due to lack of change. This problem would not have arisen if I could make the payment through my phone,” said Harika D.
Some post offices do accept digital payments for deposits in savings bank accounts or insurance premium payments. The problem of change is mostly for smaller transactions, as the staff say it gets difficult to keep track of online payments when there are more customers.
“It becomes difficult to keep track of whether the transaction has been completed or not in the case of digital payments,” said an officer at Vimanapura post office. Another officer at the same post office said the fear of online scams keeps them from fully embracing the digital payment system.
S. Rajendra Kumar, Chief Post Master General (CPMG), Karnataka Circle, said customers can raise complaints if digital transactions are not accepted at post offices. “If an issue is raised, we will look into it. Currently, the process of digital payments is a little time-consuming and we are working on reducing this time period. We will take more steps to ensure that digital transactions happen in all post offices,” he said.
(With inputs from Vidhatri C.H. and Donata John)