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2 minutes read

Cashless Economy: Beggar Asking Money With QR Code Goes Viral

| Published on July 12, 2019

China’s cashless economy has now taken an interesting turn. E payments are not just limited to traders and customers anymore. With the help of local digital payment applications such as Alipay and WeChat, now beggars are also making the most of it.

It seems, our usual excuse “Chhutte Nahi Hai” is not going to work in China. The local beggars have become technologically advanced and now accept alms through QR scans. Gathering near the tourist-packed areas, the beggars have begging bowls with a QR code-printed sheet on it. And anyone with Alipay, WeChat Wallet or some other mobile payment app that can scan the code can pay.

All that is required is a library where an account can be set up and the digital wallet is ready without any fees.

There is a dark side to this technological development though. According to some reports, businesses are paying these QR code beggars for every scan that is made. They then harvest data of the users and even sell their WeChat IDs, the China Channel reported some time ago. User data can also be sold to the companies which then use these to pester customers with advertisements and unnecessary nudges.

Local startups also use these scans to promote their businesses. The beggars are paid for the scans in their name. According to the media report, beggars get equivalent of anywhere from Rs 7-15 from these scans. Considering a beggar works for 45 hours, the same translates to the beggar making the equivalent of over Rs 40,000.

With the availability of Paytm, smartphones, along with the easy access to the internet, India has already witnessed small kiosks such and street vendors accepting digital payments.

But how far along are we to see our beggars begging digitally is yet to define.

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