Money & Banking

Visa woos Indian fintechs, start-ups to solve digital payments challenge

KR Srivats New Delhi | Updated on December 04, 2019 Published on December 04, 2019

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Visa, a global leader in payments technology, has begun to roll out in India its global innovation programme — Visa Everywhere Initiative (VEI) — seeking to drive ways in which it can collaborate with Indian fintechs for solving the payment and commerce challenges of tomorrow.

Up for grabs is a prize money of ₹50 lakh (winner likely to be decided in early March), besides the opportunity to collaborate with Visa in taking to the market new-age tech solutions. The three big problems, which need to be solved for the growth of digital payments in India, are being given to start-ups and the winner gets ₹50 lakh bonanza.

“We have done this in six countries. More than 6,000 start-ups have been covered in four years and these start-ups have raised $2.5 billion in funding. In India, this is the first time we are launching this programme,” Arvind Ronta, Vice-President, Head of Products, India and South Asia at Visa, told BusinessLine.

Ronta, who was here for the Delhi leg of the roadshows, said the main purpose of VEI is to engage and collaborate with fintechs in India to work on big problems.

“It is a challenge, but it involves a prize money and solves the real problem of accelerating digital payments,” said Ronta.

In India, the digital penetration in personal consumption expenditure (PCE) is less than 10 per cent. “Still a long way to go. We need to actively engage with fintechs across the cities. We already have 200 fintechs registered for this challenge in two weeks and more to come,” he said.

There are 350 fintechs in India that are now focussed on payments.

Merchant acceptance

Ronta highlighted that merchant acceptance is a big problem in India that needs to be solved.

“We still have a long tail of merchants that are not in the digital fold. Roughly out of the 7 crore merchants/traders, only 7 per cent accept digital payments. India has five PoS machines for 1,000 adults/cards. We are one-seventh of the penetration in China or Brazil. We still have to accelerate merchant acceptance through mobile payments, smart PoS and QR,” he said.

From less than a million PoS machines in India before demonetisation (November 2016), the PoS universe has grown to over 4.5 million now.

“Is there a strong proposition to get merchants away from cash? Besides payments, efforts should be on to add value-added services, such as lending billing, reconciliation and solving the working capital needs of the merchants. 4.5 million is good but not good enough,” said Ronta.

Under VEI, the fintechs (both start-ups and later-stage) enrolling for the programme will work on themes that address the roadblocks to higher adoption of digital payments in India.

These range from growing digital payment awareness and usage beyond metros to increasing access to credit or scaling commercial payments. India has the second-highest global fintech adoption rate in the world.

Published on December 04, 2019
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