PayPal eyes top three slot in travel payment segment in India

Forum Gandhi Mumbai | Updated on September 27, 2019 Published on September 27, 2019

Anupam Pahuja, Managing Director, PayPal India Photo: Paul Noronha   -  PAUL NORONHA

The company will differentiate itself on payment protection, says Anupam Pahuja, MD, PayPal India


PayPal India, one of the latest entrants in the domestic online payment market, is set to be among the top three players in the travel segment, said Anupam Pahuja, Managing Director, PayPal India.

Speaking to BusinessLine, Pahuja also said for PayPal, India is a high priority market and they see a lot of potential in the travel segment. PayPal India’s MD also shared his views on the challenges faced in the online payment market.

You introduced your services for the domestic market a year-and-half ago. How has that been so far?

What we have seen in India over the last one-and-a-half years is that acceptance in the travel sector is almost 100 per cent. I am not saying I'm as big as any other player in India, yet. However, the country is so large that there is room for multiple theories. So there's not going to be a situation where a single winner takes it all, and nobody else wins a piece of the pie. There is always scope for growth in multiple formats.

PayPal India seems to have a larger focus on the travel segment. What is the potential you see there?

For India, travel is becoming increasingly important. People want more experiences, rather than merely acquiring things. Besides, India’s population is largely moving towards the middle-class, for whom travelling abroad is aspirational.

According to a report, approximately 1.2 per cent of airline revenue is lost due to credit card fraud. We see fraud reaching about $25 billion in the travel segment globally. In a business like ours, where there is a lot of mistrust, PayPal plays an important role.

What gives us an upper hand is that none of the other online payment players in India give payment protection. For payments via PayPal, we offer six months of buyer and seller protection in cases of fraud, bankruptcy and cheating. The ability to manage that risk is where PayPal differentiates itself from others.

Where does India stand on PayPal’s priority list?

It is high up on the priority list. We are dominant in most of our core, developed markets, thus, we started looking at other markets. We saw a layer of growth that India provides. Our expectation is to be one of the top three players in India in the travel segment in the coming year or so.

How do you see PayPal positioned in India in the next two years?

By the end of next year, we aim to have above 80 per cent coverage in the segments we are present in, and where consumers come to shop. I think we are 95 per cent on target.

The key for us is to have a mixed bag of merchants catering to all segments. Our idea is to be present anywhere and everywhere, where our consumers are willing to make a purchase, and that's our focus.

Our aim is to be omnichannel, whether it is online or offline. So our goal is to be associated with every essential product in the daily lives of the consumer. For example: If you want to book an Ola, or order food from Fassos, we want to be present there. We are very much halfway in the journey. We started on April 28 last year and have come a long way. We are increasing the speed at which we get connected to more and more customers and are also investing in companies in India.

What is the strategy that PayPal has adopted to reach this target?

PayPal plays an important role in being present in large merchants around the world. Since we already have a footprint abroad, when a tourist comes to India, they trust our brand. Since we already had a presence in cross-border trading from India, we have our share of users in that segment too. We also get an upper hand when Indian travellers go abroad -- they can use our services because several Indian players do not have a presence abroad.

As far as the domestic market is concerned, there are challenges. Within India, tourism isn’t growing that fast and most Indians want to travel abroad. Outbound is growing exponentially. That’s what we are focusing on.

Recently Prime Minister Narendra Modi had urged Indians to travel to at least 15 tourist destinations within India by 2022 to boost domestic tourism. How do you view it from that aspect?

The payment service in India is full of friction and it is not easy. You have to go through many steps and hurdles. Our aim is to provide Indians a world-class payment service. We aim to bring technology that is used in our US, Australia and UK markets.

Our goal is to provide our Indian customers a new experience.

The Indian market runs predominantly on deals and offers. But deals and offers can only go so far. There is no product or technological differentiation in any of these portals, apps or companies. The experience that our portal will offer will give us an upper hand over the offers and deals.

India has a lot of diversity among classes. Our current target is the middle-class and the segment above that. We will take it one step at a time. We plan to take one segment, ace it and then move to the next.

Published on September 27, 2019
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