Paytm eyes healthcare payments space, plans to add doctors to widen user base

Photo: Reuters

Digital payments company Paytm, valued at about $15 billion, is set to enter the healthcare payments space to widen its customer base.

Last month, Paytm had said it was expanding its educational services from fee payments, application forms and career counselling, to education insurance, loans and job applications.

The firm now aims to create a payments mechanism solely for doctors to help them receive consultation fees using Paytm to and make bulk purchases such as medical supplies.

“We want to be a category creator of payments. Doctors don’t accept digital payments as they often visit multiple hospitals in a week and there is no reconciliation method for all the payments. There is complexity involved in handling such payments. So, we are bringing the simplest of QR codes, which are replaceable and usable at multiple places,” said Paytm founder Vijay Shekhar Sharma.

“Now, these doctors also want to use this money digitally. We will launch tools to help them do that. Last week, we launched wholesale debits so they (doctors) can make bulk payments using the same Paytm,” he added.

Recently, it expanded its education business with a full bouquet of services across payments, commerce, financial and academic products. In FY20, it plans to cross 20,000 crore in gross merchandise value for its education business. Sharma said the plan to get into the payments side of education and doctors is a natural progression of Paytm’s business.

“Our focus has been clinically high frequency, which includes top-ups, grocery stores, and milk shops such as Mother Dairy. That was the first focus. Then came the large-ticket focus. So, we got into education, which is a large ticket, not high frequency; and now, doctors,” said Sharma.

Experts said there are a lot of digital payment firms and, therefore, the cost of acquiring customers is going up. Paytm had a head-start, but Google Pay, Amazon Pay, BHIM, PhonePe and WhatsApp’s payments offerings are challenging its near-monopoly status.

“Paytm has to create more use cases for its customers and get more people on its platform. It’s not just about doctors. It could soon create something for handy men such as carpenters. This seems to be the right way to go forward,” said Harish H.V., managing partner, ECube, an environmental, social and governance fund.

This article was first published on livemint.com.

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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).

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  • 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.