Money & Banking

PhonePe eyes portfolio expansion

Abhishek Law Kolkata | Updated on March 13, 2020 Published on March 13, 2020

Walmart-owned fintech company PhonePe plans to increase its offerings across categories such as insurance and mutual funds, even as it explores entry into newer categories to extend loans. The expansion of portfolio could happen within the calendar year.

The Bengaluru-based entity and part of the Flipkart Group is also mulling addition of more merchants / partners to extend its offline reach to boost ATM (cash withdrawal) services. It has one crore merchants (or one shop every 200 meters in a city has a PhonePe QR code) who accept payments through PhonePe.

Not all of them can use the ATM facilities (provide cash as a withdrawal option). The ATM services were first launched across Delhi and NCR and are now being expanded pan-India (10 lakh shops across 300 cities).

According to Karthik Raghupathy, Vice-President, Strategy and Business Development, PhonePe, the next wave of growth is expected from smaller towns, and keeping this in mind there is a need to expand offline services. Similarly, expanding the current range of services across its platform, is another focus area.

Apart from DTH recharge, bill payments, and Fastag top-up, among others, PhonePe also offers travel insurance bookings and buying and selling of gold and mutual funds (liquid and tax saver options) on its platform.

Raghupathy added that more options within the existing segments, such as offering general and health insurance schemes or selling equity and debt-linked mutual funds, are being explored. These could be introduced this year.

“We are also looking at the lending space. These could be peer-to-peer lending options or B2B / B2C loans or even personal loan options. We are waiting for the right time and the right product to introduce on our platform,” he told BusinessLine.

PhonePe competes with Paytm across most categories and has 7.6-crore active user base with 55 crore transactions carried out every month. The company also launched the ‘Switch’ platform in 2018, where users can place orders across apps such as Ola, Treebo, Myntra, Goibibo and redBus. Nearly 69 per cent of its transactions come from non-Tier-I cities.

The company’s annualised total payment value run rate stands at $170 billion. Revenue streams include transaction fees (and distribution charges) on products sold across the platform and advertisement revenues. The Switch platform is also being monetised.

No major disruption in transactions is expected because of the coronavirus outbreak (in travel insurance or other related segments such as flight and bus bookings).

Partnership with banks

PhonePeis also eyeing new partnerships with banks for UPI transactions. At present, it has a tie up with ICICI Bank and YES Bank. The fintech company had faced an outage for nearly 24 hours after a moratorium was placed on YES Bank on March 5.

The company worked with ICICI Bank and NPCI and its services were up and running by Friday (March 6) afternoon.

“Our partnership with ICICI Bank was expected to go live from April. But with the moratorium on YES Bank, we went ahead with it on March 6 onwards. Now, we are exploring partnerships with other banks,” he added.

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Published on March 13, 2020
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