Jio Payments is set to enter what has been the domain of Paytm and PhonePe so far - the soundbox segment. Reckoned as a payments and audio verification device, Jio is all set to venture into the soundbox play across retail merchants. 

The full-fledged launch is after 8-9 months of rigorous pilot launch of the soundbox across Reliance Retail stores. Initially, the device was tested across retail entities of the Reliance group in tier-2 cities and smaller metros such as Jaipur, Indore, and Lucknow. With this round of testing proving to be successful, Jio’s soundbox entered urban markets; albeit within the group’s retail outlets. 

Now, with two pilot projects proving to be successful, Jio Payments is all set to take this product across retail stores, including those other than the group’s franchises. Jio’s entry into the segment is viewed as very ‘strategic’ by industry experts, as it comes when Paytm is neck-deep in crisis. Said to be the industry leader in soundbox segment and also the first mover, Paytm is believed to be in the process of recalibrating its soundboxes to align with new QR codes, post the Paytm Payments Bank debacle.   

Experts view soundbox as a steady revenue generating proposition. The device is charged at the time of procuring it and there is a fixed monthly rental for the services it provides. Doubling up as POS or point of sales device in case of QR code based transactions, soundboxes are proving to be a lucrative source of income for fintechs. 

For merchants too, the value of a soundbox extends beyond the auditory alerts it provides. it offers invaluable insights into merchant behaviours, facilitating the offering of loans based on this data.

While charges of Jio’s soundbox isn’t known yet, experts say if priced well, it could shake up the market extensively. Paytm, according to its website, is offering the device at ₹1 and monthly charges are ₹125. According to reports, PhonePe charges ₹49 a month as rentals. BharatPe has also extensively entered the soundbox segment, while reports suggest that Google Pay may also be foraying into the space soon.

More than 20 million Indian merchants use soundboxes, with Paytm leading the market, PhonePe coming close second.