Bengaluru: Point of Sale (PoS) device seller Mswipe now has more than half of its merchant base registered on its recently introduced QR code-based payment service, which was launched in May, driven largely by small and micro-merchants, according to a top company executive.
Mswipe currently has more than 5 lakh merchants who own PoS devices. The company's smart PoS machines which runs on Android also have a QR-code payment feature that displays the merchant's QR code on the screen before accepting a payment.
“There are some 40 million merchants and sellers who can be classified as micro-merchants, who may not even have the basic PoS terminal, or any kind of digital presence…this is who we are mostly targeting with the QR code product," said CEO Manish Patel.
The merchant base in India can be broadly distributed among large, medium, small and micro-merchants. According to Patel, India has around 1.5 million large to medium merchants who have been accepting PoS device payments even before demonetization.
But around 10-12 million SMEs and merchants in India still do not have any kind of digital payment acceptance, Patel said. “These are businesses who had a permanent place in the market, but did not have any means of digital acceptance… this was the gap that we originally focused on (using mPoS) and now with QR codes," added Patel.
QR code-based payments, aimed largely at person-to-merchant payments, initially debuted on wallets like Paytm, MowbiKwik and others, but the QR codes generated were standalone to each platform. A Paytm merchant with his or her QR code couldn’t accept a payment from a MobiKwik merchant, until the NPCI stepped in early 2018.
In March 2018, the National Payment Council of India (NPCI), a governing body that looks at UPI payments directed all wallets and payment apps using UPI to onboard BharatQR—an interoperable QR code standard which was created in early 2017.
Until the interoperable standards were mandated by NPCI in March 2018, PoS device sellers like Mswipe and many others were kept away from introducing QR code-based payments, because of interoperability issues.
“It didn’t make sense for a company like Mswipe, because earlier we had to go tie-up with individual wallets from acquiring perspective to support all QR code system, which was not a tenable business, and hence we decided to stay away from it. Now with unified QR codes, we can provide a digital acceptance service to any merchant," added Patel during an interview.
Mswipe isn’t the first digital payment provider to support BharatQR. Currently, all mobile wallets on UPI including Paytm, MobiKwik, and most net banking apps also, support interoperable QR codes for payments.
Apart from his, Digital payments aggregator BharatPe banked entirely on interoperable Bharat QR to achieve a total payment value (TPV) of $1 billion with over 14.5 lakh offline merchants less than 2 years of launch in February 2017. It had also secured $50 million led by US-based fintech fund Ribbit Capital, and Steadview Capital in August 2019.