BENGALURU: Mastercard India, Axis Bank Ltd and payment service provider, Worldline India, have partnered to launch a digital point-of-sale solution, Soft POS, to help offline merchants and kirana stores accept payments using their smartphones.
The solution allows merchants to accept payments through various digital form factors including Bharat QR, sending payment links to customers and even accept NFC-based payments to boost contactless payments in the country.
The service will also offer features including E-Khata for reconciliations and recording store credit transactions, a cash register to record transactions at store and an Online Dukkan, where merchants can catalogue their products for consumers to make online orders for home deliveries.
Mastercard has also partnered with Zoho Corp to help merchants with large turnovers file their goods and services tax returns, among other services.
Mastercard, which is providing white-label technology for this solution, aims to equip 10 million small and medium enterprises (SMEs) in India by 2021 through various banking partnerships. Additionally, it plans to take this solution to other South Asian markets including Bangladesh, Sri Lanka and Nepal over the next year, through partnerships.
“Given the current pandemic, an option of accepting cashless payments and the speed of transactions are paramount for small merchants across the country. Mastercard has been working towards merchant and consumer education, development of low-cost payments acceptance solutions and last-mile support for merchants to start their digital onboarding," said Vikas Saraogi, vice president, head of acceptance, South Asia, Mastercard.
The solution is also slated to be launched in Southeast Asian markets including Thailand, after South Asia.
At present, Mastercard has partnered with Axis Bank to acquire merchants. With this, the private lender plans to launch the Qube application on Google Play Store by July.
Soft POS will also support the Tap on Phone function, which means a cardholder can tap their contactless card on the merchant smartphone with NFC to make a contactless digital payment.
“We have been continuously working on partnership-led models and digital solutions for the merchant community, to help them lower their cost of business. Through the Soft POS offering, we are looking to target proprietary store owners, having a turnover of ₹10 lakh to ₹50 lakh to onboard this solution. Merchants can do it instantly and start using the solution, rather than having to wait for days and having to rely on personnels to get a point-of-sale (POS) integrated in their establishments," said Sanjeev Moghe, head - cards and payments, Axis Bank,
Axis Bank plans to spread the network of this solution to 15%-20% of its offline store distribution of its newly acquired merchants across the country, at present, and
Moghe added that this solution is expected to bring down operating costs of accepting digital payments via a physical POS machine, which can cost upwards of ₹5,000 for installation.
The app-based solution also allows banks to have complete visibility of a merchant’s transactions, making it easier for small merchants to get business loans. The app is available in eight languages and easily links with platforms such as Google Pay, WhatsApp Pay, Amazon Pay, among others.