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Delhi Tops in Women’s Digital Payments at 2%, Says DBS and CRISIL Survey

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Delhi Tops in Women’s Digital Payments at 2%, Says DBS and CRISIL Survey

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In a pioneering effort to understand the way urban Indian women plan, prioritise and manage their money, DBS Bank India, in partnership with CRISIL, have undertaken a comprehensive study entitled ‘Women and Finance’.

The first of three reports was launched today, based on the survey that was designed to reveal the financial preferences of women, both salaried and self-employed, across various life stages. Over 800 women were surveyed across 10 cities in India on a wide range of behaviours, including their involvement in financial decision-making, goal setting, saving,and investing patterns, adoption of digital tools as well as their preferences for different banking products.

In the context of the stagnating rate of female participation in the workforce and a persistent gender pay gap, the insights from this study are pertinent for businesses, regulators and financial institutions as well as a revelation when it comes to understanding the variations of Indian women’s relationship with their finances. The survey findings pointed to factors like age, income, marital status, presence of dependants and home location as major influencers of the financial behaviour of women.

Decision-making dynamics and evolution of goals

Whether it’s charting out their children’s educational paths or balancing multiple competing financial goals, women are not bystanders but are at the helm, shaping the future of their families. An encouraging 98% of urban Indian women actively participate in long-term family decision-making. In fact, the findings revealed that about 47% of them make independent financial decisions, a reflection of women’s growing financial autonomy.

In Delhi, 65% of women independently navigate their financial decisions, fuelled by the city’s cosmopolitan culture and the opportunities it presents. In contrast, only 44% of women in Gurugram take independent financial decisions.

Moreover, age and affluence play a pivotal role in shaping financials decisions. Women over 45 years old, with their wealth of experience, emerge as the leaders, with 65% making independent financial choices compared to 41% of millennials.

The report provides a fascinating glimpse into the growing empowerment of urban Indian women. Across India, the topmost long-term financial priority of women evolves with age, while buying/upgrading a home is priority number one for those between 25-35 years, it evolves to children’s education for those in the 35-45 year category and to medical care for those above 45 years of age. Expectedly, retirement planning is seen entering the consideration set for the first time in the 35-45 year age cohort.

Saving, borrowing and investment behaviour

Women earners in the metros tend to be risk-averse with 51% of their investments parked in fixed deposits (FD) and savings accounts, followed by 16% in gold, 15% in mutual funds, 10% in real estate and just 7% in stocks. This tracks with behaviours from DBS Bank India’s own customer insights where 10% of female customers have an active fixed deposit, while just 5% of male customers have opened an FD.

Women who make independent financial decisions are risk averse, particularly in cities a few metros, including Delhi. In both Delhi and Gurugram, these women demonstrate a pronounced preference for guaranteed returns and safety, with over 44% and 31%, respectively, opting for fixed deposits in these cities.

Gurugram ranks among the top 3 cities for credit card adoption among women, along with Mumbai, both at 96%, and Hyderabad leading at 98%. More significantly, the report revealed that half of the salaried women stated that they have never taken a loan. Among those who have borrowed, the majority opted for a home loan, which reflects the deep cultural importance associated with homeownership in India.

The study also delved into women’s usage of various banking and payment channels. Only 14% of urban women opt for cash transactions, while the remaining prefer digital options, with 29% favouring UPI, 16% mobile banking, 13% credit cards, and 11% net banking. Delhi stands out, with only 2% of women using cash, indicating a strong preference for digital payments, while in Gurugram, cash usage is at 10%.

Prashant Joshi, Managing Director and Head of Consumer Banking Group, DBS Bank India, said “The insights from the survey highlight the importance of financial stability in the aspirations of independent female earners across India. Ownership of financial decision making, diverse investment and borrowing choices and growing adoption of digital channels are all evidence that the modern Indian woman is not just a participant, but a planner of her journey. More than 35% of our own DBS Treasures customer base are female and we have seen many inspiring examples of how women can take charge of their own finances. The DBS Women and Finance study is a step forward in the much-needed movement to a more equitable financial playing field and it underlines our commitment to enabling all customers to ‘Live more, Bank less’.” 

DBS has been a part of India’s journey since 1994, and it is the largest foreign bank in the country by branch presence, with a physical footprint of 530 branches in 350 locations. With the study Women and Finance, DBS Bank India aims to gain a deeper appreciation of the evolving preferences and aspirations of women in India to support holistic financial management and growth.

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