India: E-wallet firms like Paytm, MobiKwik seen gaining from cash curbs

Photo: Preetha/Mint

Fintech start-ups are expected to be among the biggest benefactors of the government’s decision to demonetize Rs500 and Rs1,000 currency notes.

Companies like Paytm (Run by One97 Communications), PayU India, MobiKwik (One MobiKwik Systems Pvt. Ltd), Freecharge (the payments arm of e-commerce marketplace Snapdeal) are already seeing results, in the few hours since the announcement on Tuesday late evening.

For wallet firms, which usually rely on cash back offers to lure customers, the announcement has proved to be the big boost needed to gain traction and a bigger mindshare among consumers.

Paytm, for instance, has said that it has seen a 250% spike in overall transactions, which includes a 400% increase in offline payment transactions. PayU India has registered an 80% jump in transactions on Wednesday, as of 12:30 pm, compared to Tuesday, according to chief executive officer Amrish Rau.

“We usually have 12 lakh transactions being done every day through PayU, on Wednesday it’s 25 lakh,” said Rau.

Freecharge claimed that the average wallet balance on its platform increased 12 times since the announcement, while the transaction value in terms of rupees on Paytm, increased by 200%, according to the firm. Paytm also said it saw a 435% increase in traffic and 200% rise in the number of app downloads it usually records.

Trupay, which enables peer-to-peer as well as merchant payments, registered about Rs80 lakh worth transactions in the first half of Wednesday, compared to the Rs20 lakh worth transactions it does on any other day, according to Rahul Gochhwal, co-founder, Trupay.

Most wallet firms also concentrate on enabling offline payments by tying up merchants who then accept money through the wallets from the consumers. Given the urgent need for alternatives to using Rs500 and Rs1000 notes, companies in the digital payment ecosystem have also registered a spike in inbound interest from merchants.

“The merchants who were slow in responding to us have been calling us to get on-boarded immediately, and those who were sceptical about digital payments are also changing their minds because of the announcement,” said Upasana Taku, co-founder, MobiKwik.

“The number of downloads increased 10 fold on Wednesday morning. By the end of Wednesday, we expect total transaction value to reach Rs1.5 crore. Also, on a usual day, 10% of (total) transactions are peer to merchant, which also increased to 20%,” said Trupay’s Gochhwal.

The spurt in transactions and interest from merchants has also meant that companies are scrambling to keep up with it and are devoting additional operations and engineering resources to meet the growing demand.

Bengaluru-based Ezetap, which makes its own point-of-sale devices to enable merchants to receive digital payments, saw a 25% spike in transactions so far, and has “significantly ramped up” the production of its devices since the announcement to cater to the increase in demand.

“This is a trigger where merchants realize that digital payments are not just nice to have, but critical in serving customers,” said Abhijit Bose, chief executive officer, Ezetap.

Consumers are also looking for alternatives to traditional digital payment instruments like wallets, with bitcoin companies like Zebpay too seeing an increase in interest.

Zebpay, which usually adds 1,000 new users every day, has added about 2,000 new users in the first half of Wednesday, according to Sandeep Goenka, co-founder, Zebpay.

Also Read: Modi’s ‘masterstroke’ cash ban to help nascent digital economy

India: Digital payment platforms record surge in transactions after demonetization

This article was first published on Livemint.com

Singapore Reporter/s

In Singapore, we are looking to double our reporting team by this year-end to comprehensively cover the fast-moving world of funded startups and VC, PE & M&A deals. We want reporters who can tell our readers what is really happening in these sectors and why it matters to markets, companies and consumers. The ability to write precisely and urgently is crucial for these roles. Ideal candidates must have to ability to work in a collaborative, dynamic, and fast-changing environment. We want our new hires to be digitally savvy and ready to experiment with new forms of storytelling. Most importantly, we are looking for hard-hitting reporters who work well in a team. Collaboration and collegiality are a must.

Following vacancies can be applied for (only in Singapore).

Following vacancies can be applied for (only in Singapore).   

  • A reporter to track companies/startups that have raised private capital, and have the potential to become unicorns. SEA currently has over 40 companies with a valuation of over $100 million and under $1 billion.
  • A reporter who can get behind the scenes and reveal how funding rounds are put together, or why they’ve failed to materialise. She/he in this role will largely focus on long-format stories. 
  • A journalist to track special situations funds, distressed debt and private credit (from the PE angle) across Asia.

Singapore Reporter/s

In Singapore, we are looking to double our reporting team by this year-end to comprehensively cover the fast-moving world of funded startups and VC, PE & M&A deals. We want reporters who can tell our readers what is really happening in these sectors and why it matters to markets, companies and consumers. The ability to write precisely and urgently is crucial for these roles. Ideal candidates must have to ability to work in a collaborative, dynamic, and fast-changing environment. We want our new hires to be digitally savvy and ready to experiment with new forms of storytelling. Most importantly, we are looking for hard-hitting reporters who work well in a team. Collaboration and collegiality are a must.

Following vacancies can be applied for (only in Singapore).

Following vacancies can be applied for (only in Singapore).   

  • A reporter to track companies/startups that have raised private capital, and have the potential to become unicorns. SEA currently has over 40 companies with a valuation of over $100 million and under $1 billion.
  • A reporter who can get behind the scenes and reveal how funding rounds are put together, or why they’ve failed to materialise. She/he in this role will largely focus on long-format stories. 
  • A journalist to track special situations funds, distressed debt and private credit (from the PE angle) across Asia.