India: Paytm launches smartphone-based NFC payments for merchants

FILE PHOTO: A worker adjusts a hoarding of Paytm, a digital payments firm, in Ahmedabad, India, January 31, 2019. REUTERS/Amit Dave

Digital payments major Paytm on Tuesday said it will let merchants use smartphones to accept near field communication (NFC)-based debit and credit card payments through its ‘Paytm Smart POS’ for Android phones.

Enabling the soft-point-of-sale model, through ‘Paytm for Business App’, the application transforms a merchant’s smartphone into a device that accepts card payments just like a physical point-of-sale machine. Merchants can start collecting payments from their customers by tapping the card on the back of their smartphones.

Software Point of Sale or SoftPoS is a technology which allows customers to pay through NFC enabled cards by tapping on the merchant’s smartphone directly without need of any additional software or devices.

Paytm’s Smart POS offering will also support more than 10 local languages. Through pilots, the company has already scaled its soft-PoS service to close to 150 cities in the country.

The company has also announced an upgraded version of its Soundbox offering, which is an instant voice-based confirmation device when a merchant receives payments. With the launch of Soundbox 2.0, the new device comes equipped with a digitally enabled screen that gives instant visual confirmation of the paid amount along with the voice-based response.

The device will be equipped with a QR code in the front, and will also provide merchants voice-based summary of the total payments and amount received by merchants at the end of the day.

Compared to the first version, Soundbox 2.0 will cost a merchant an upfront device fee of 750 and a monthly subscription fee of 150. Paytm will also be launching an upgradaded plan for previous users of Soundbox.

The company plans to equip close to 2 million merchants, by the end of this financial year with its payment hardware products. It already has close to a million merchants using its payment devices at present.

“Paytm is committed to bringing new-age financial technologies and services to 5 crore small and micro-merchants in India. Today’s launch of Soundbox 2.0 and Smart POS for Android phones expands opportunities for small businesses to experience these latest technologies at the most affordable price. Our in-store payment offerings including the pioneering All-in-One QR are examples of the best Made in India technology,” said Vijay Shekhar Sharma, founder and chief executive of Paytm.

Paytm which has close to 20 million merchants, across 250 cities accepting payments from its platform, now plans to spread the reach of its payment hardware and software devices to close to 5 million, in the next few years.

“Contactless payments or tapping to pay with a contactless card or mobile device, have fast emerged as the preferred way to pay globally with nearly 60 percent of Visa transactions outside of the U.S. occurring with a tap. Paytm’s foray into the contactless card payment ecosystem will truly help propel the adoption and usage of contactless cards across India,” said TR Ramachandran, group country manager, India and South Asia, Visa.

At present, Paytm has close to 328 million wallet users and 145 million unified payments interface (UPI) handles. While Paytm Payments Bank has close to 64 million bank accounts.

This article was first published on livemint.com.

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

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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.