BENGALURU: As the extended lockdown continues to impact digital payments, Indian firms are looking at strategies to shore up payment volumes.
Digital payment firms such as PhonePe and Paytm have started focusing on changing the user interface for their respective mobile applications, to help assist in payments and delivery of essential services and items.
“We have a unique product called "Stores" on our app where we show all merchants in the vicinity of the customer as per their current location. We have now introduced two filters in the Stores section "currently operational" and "home delivery", which keeps getting updated frequently and changing dynamically," said Karthik Raghupathy, vice-president, strategy and business development, PhonePe.
PhonePe has also introduced a "Pay Now" feature on the Stores page for which customers don't need to scan any QR and can pay directly on the page after placing the order.
Last week, Paytm also announced its updated interface, bringing essential payments to the fore including mobile and DTH recharge, bill payments (electricity, water and gas), credit card and insurance premium among other things. PhonePe has also followed a similar strategy.
“We have revamped the User Interface so that it is seamless, making it easy to pay for home essentials. Right now the focus is to keep fellow Indians safe in their homes and make it possible to reduce their venturing out as much as possible," said a Paytm spokesperson.
Both Paytm and PhonePe have also partnered with insurers Reliance General Insurance and Bajaj Allianz General Insurance to offer covid-19 related insurance policies covering hospitalisation and quarantine expenses.
Online payment gateways are also working to provide digital payment solutions to offline kiranas and stores through link-based payments and dynamic QRs.
“For offline payments, we are revamping and focusing energies on our ‘ePoS’ payment app, which we introduced during demonetisation. It allows users to pay a merchant through their phone through a link or a QR code, sent to them. At least for a year, the digital payments industry will be focussing on building tech which will help in eliminating as many physical touch points as possible," says Harshil Mathur, co-founder and chief executive Razorpay - an online payments firm.
For its business banking product focused on SMBs, Razorpay is working directly with banks to help the former open current accounts via video calls.
To enable offline stores with online payments, Mohit Gopal, senior vice president and strategy head, PayU India, said, “We aren’t going to individual mom-and-pop stores, BharatQR enabled an early and easy way for us to get there. And for offline link-based payments, large enterprise merchants like to keep operations with a single ecosystem player, which helps us leverage our core skill sets and facilitate smooth reconciliation and operations for them."
Gopal added that PayU had acquired digital financial security firm Wibmo in April, last year, enabling it to be a tech-service provider to financial institutions and large enterprise merchants rather than just being a payments player in the space.
“We are also leveraging our capabilities from the PayU ecosystem and focusing on being a strong tech-service provider to several clients and bolstering our operations in return," Gopal said.
With several online players trying to provide contactless payments for the offline ecosystem, Sanjay Doshi- partner and head, Financial Services Advisory at KPMG India said, “Products and solutions around instant payment, fully contactless payments, digital -onboarding and omnichannel commerce (ordering online and picking up from nearby store) will likely to grow, and Fintechs should change focus on offering such solutions. The focus should be given on development of contactless payment solutions to prevent the spreading of the virus any further from the exchange of the currency."