Home >Companies >Start-ups >Pine Labs enters neo-banking turf for micro-merchants with app-strategy

BENGALURU : Home grown payments solution unicorn Pine Labs on Wednesday launched its ‘AllTap App’ solution, which will allow micro merchants, home entrepreneurs, street vendors and cab drivers to accept card-based digital payments through their NFC-enabled smartphones.

The payments solution company has partnered with card networks including RuPay, Visa, Mastercard and Amex to accept payments and plans to onboard close to 1 million merchants on to the app over the next one year.

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The app-strategy is a differentiator from its existing lines of business where Pine Labs assists in deploying QR-codes as well as point-of-sale (POS) machines offline at physical merchant outlets.

The AllTap app will also allow merchants to accept payments through static or dynamic quick-response (QR) codes, and will enable its credit ‘Buy Now Pay Later’ product for customers during the payment process.

Pine Labs plans to add other features including loyalty offerings, financial services including insurance, as well as credit for these merchants on the app, over the next 90 days, as it plans to tap 100,000 merchants this quarter.

Along with the dissemination of financial services, it will also look to issue credit cards to micro-merchants through its banking and credit partners, the company said.

“At Pine Labs we have built a great terminal, however merchants build strong relationships with their servicing apps or banking partners. Hence with the launch of ‘AllTap App’, we are moving in the direction of building direct merchant relationships where the app will act as a merchant home helping them avail services like loyalty, credit and other financial service products," said Amrish Rau, chief executive of Pine Labs in an interaction with Mint.

Pine Labs also plans to introduce invoice-discounting or revenue-based lending to these partners, in the next 3 months, through its non-banking finance partners.

“For 2021, Pine Labs will broadly be focussed on three strong growth lines. First is introducing newer digital payment capabilities for merchant partners, second will be offering newer commerce solutions while digitising storefronts; lastly, the focus will be on bringing access to financial services," commented Rau.

Currently, there are close to 100,000 terminals being deployed at offline stores in the country, with Pine Labs contributing close to 20% of that deployment, Rau added.

At present, revenues from payments and subscription of its POS software continues to be the largest contributor to its financials.

Last month, the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) increased the transaction limits on contactless card payments from 2000 earlier to 5000, starting January 1, 2021.

In December, last year, Pine Labs announced raising close to $100 million from Lone Pine Capital as part of secondary and primary share sale. This investment round took the company's valuation from $1.6 billion to $2 billion within a year.

The Noida-based startup was the first to reach a $1 billion in valuation in 2020, marking its entry into India’s unicorn club in January.

Mint was the first to report on its December 9 edition that the company was looking to expand in Southeast Asian markets, with plans to launch its ‘Buy Now Pay Later’ product in Thailand and Philippines by February 2021 and, subsequently, in Vietnam, Singapore and Indonesia.

By mid-2021, Pine Labs also plans to introduce prepaid vouchers and gift cards through its subsidiary Qwikcilver, which it had acquired last year, to extend its footprint further in these new South Asian markets.

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