Money & Banking

‘Our sector is just about starting its most glorious decade’

Surabhi Mumbai | Updated on December 25, 2020

Terming the next decade as the most glorious decade for the country’s digital payments and fintech sector, Varun Sridhar, CEO, Paytm Money, said the Covid-19 crisis gave a boost to the sector.

In an interview with BusinessLine, Sridhar said the next move would be convergence to a super app and multilingual reach and also stressed on the need for mass financial inclusion by fintech companies. Edited excerpts:

Do you think the growth spurt in digital payments and fintechs will continue?

India was always waiting for this moment.

The payments and fintech sector was prepared for this Covid-19 crisis as UPI, wallets, Fastags, etc were all there and when this crisis struck, it got accelerated.

Digital payments and fintech in India is just about starting its most glorious decade. 2020-30 will be fantastic.

All the base work is done in terms of infrastructure, regulation, participants, financial capital, customer awareness is laid out.

The base is very strong.

What is your outlook for the sector?

I think, three things will change.

There will be convergence to a super app. So consumers will prefer to have one app to see their payments, investments, FASTag, bill payments, shopping, taxis.

Second, fintech companies need to start doing mass scale financial inclusion.

The question that needs to be addressed is how do you get 200 million Indians on to a savings and investment platform or get loans in a paperless manner.

Third, technology will play a key role. Platforms that will win will be able to give stable products, simple and start talking multilingual.

I also think the regulator and the government are doing a fantastic job.

It is very rare that we see all this coming together in such a short time.

What are the expansion plans for Paytm Money?

Paytm Money, as a wealth management platform, does four product lines – mutual funds, stock broking, digital gold and pension. We want to be India’s No 1 wealth platform for mass retail customers. We want to expand our product suite to match every risk appetite and financial goal.

Over the next 12-18 months, there will be at least one product launch from us.

I will be happy to double our customer base in the next couple of years.

Can fintech and digital payment players become more dominant than traditional banks?

I will give an example of Paytm Payments Bank though I don’t manage it.

They have done a large number of digital video KYCs. They are doing a fantastic job on user experience.

People are using all sorts of banking services online and business has picked up in the last two years.

Today, there is level playing field, fintechs are large enough and are competing with the incumbents.

What are the risks to the sector?

The biggest risk is that we complicate things for mass retail consumer, we are not transparent enough.

Also, there is a real risk that consumer education is left behind.

Published on December 25, 2020

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