Noida: Over the last decade, digital payments have seen gigantic growth in India. Due to widespread internet penetration, there is a surge in digital payment adoption by consumers and merchants. UPI has also accelerated this adoption multi-fold as the simplicity and ease of access by both the developer and consumers. Also, demonetization has boosted the adoption of these UPI platforms by national and international players have played a significant role in enabling the rural Indian economy to move towards digital payment in a big way. Furthermore, the pandemic tailwind the digital payment growth as consumers adopted touchless payment methods.
From the past two days, APAC’s Virtual BFSI innovation conclave had brought together the industry leaders, policymakers, digital transformation leaders and innovators. To bring the revisions on various aspects of leveraging technology and innovation for the sector.
On the second day of the two-day virtual BFSI – Finnovation Conclave organised by APAC News Network, the panel titled, ‘Digital Payments – Challenges & opportunities’ has covered various aspects of growing digital payments players. The panel was moderated by Souvik Goswami, Co-founder & Chief Group Editor, APAC News Network followed by empanelled speakers from the industry including Jagdish Narayanan, CIO, Reliance Jio Payments Bank, Ashish Tewari, SVP & Head of Engineering, Niyo Solutions Inc, Balu Ramachandran, Chief Business Officer, Simpl, Navaneethan M, Senior Vice President, CISO, and Head of IT, Groww, Ramkumar Venkatesan, SVP Engineering, Cashfree Payments.
Adoption of digital payments by financial services system in the post-pandemic world:
“Digital payments have been always an integral part of all the financial services for the past 7-8 years or so. However, the pandemic has accelerated its adoption by enhancing awareness and increasing acceptability across the spectrum. Digital payments were just an undermining sort of layer to all financial services, now we’ve had the explosion of UPI. Digital payments will continue to permeate more and more spheres of our daily life. More people wouldn’t want to carry cash or plastics in their pockets. The money transaction is just moving digitally” said, Jagdish Narayanan, CIO, Reliance Jio Payments Bank.
According to Balu Ramachandran, Chief Business Officer, Simpl “The impact of change of technology in the Asia Pacific region and India specifically has seen the adoption of digital payments significantly. With the directional force of payments moving digital, we are very clear that pandemic has magnified the shift of behaviour from offline to online. The next realm is about invisible payments. We’ve heard about the experiments where there are stores in which you could walk in and walk out and everything gets taken care of in the back-end, including billing and payments and so on. There are ongoing conversations around this. We at Simpl are engaged in some of those conversations as well. Forget about standing in line and withdrawing money from the bank or even going into an ATM. Now, it will get to a point where payments will become invisible. And then adoption of that is going to be massive in this part of the world.”
Innovation of digital products on the lending side:
Speaking about the innovation on the lending side of financial services, Ashish Tewari, SVP & Head of Engineering, Niyo Solutions Inc said, “Innovation in lending, when you download any application, it can read your messages, your civil score based on your PAN card, so all these innovations have helped organizations to understand the risk profile of a customer. Whereas, earlier you had to go through so many documentations to understand the customer’s history before you promised any lending amount to that customer, but now that has become easier. There is a way that you can check his history of messages, past transactions, email history and so on. From his civility score, you can understand what is the persona of this customer.”
Regulation on digital payment players to ensure digital safety:
“Regulators are actively working with the ecosystem to make sure that the technology is leveraged in the best possible way. The next level is everything that comes around the enablement of sharing of data within the ecosystem. The adoption of the technology, using machine learning, using AI to make sure that signals are caught and to underwrite user rights. Likewise, some signals can be used to underwrite fraud or uncover fraud as well”, said Balu Ramachandran, Chief Business Officer, Simpl.
According to Navaneethan M, Senior Vice President, CISO, and Head of IT, Groww, “70 – 72% of the KYC fraud has come from tier-one cities. To create awareness about what can be shared and what cannot be shared. At the country level as well as at the organizational level we used to make a remark that always sharing is not caring.”
The merchant on-boarding by the players:
“The payment service providers have been playing a critical role in accelerating the onboarding of merchants. Another significant piece that we are seeing in the initial shoots is the soft POS or the mobile POS. This is also a game-changer going into different tier two cities, small towns, villages, and so on. In spreading the hardware devices, there is huge costs involved in setup installation, as well as service, but now everyone has mobile devices, so transforming that mobile device into the point of sale device for the merchants is going to accelerate the onboarding of merchants.”, said Ramkumar Venkatesan, SVP Engineering, Cashfree Payments.
Future of contactless payments in the smaller cities and handling of cyber frauds:
Jagdish Narayanan, CIO, Reliance Jio Payments Bank said, “In smaller cities, I don’t see a lot of difference between the Metro Cities vs smaller cities or towns. The one difference which I have seen is in terms of the language. You may not find English speaking people in smaller cities. Therefore, many applications come up with vernacular support. Many applications do location checking while transacting and they will send you alerts on their own. Therefore, a lot of intelligence is being built in the application system.”
Further adding to Jagdish Narayanan, Ramkumar Venkatesan, SVP Engineering, Cashfree Payments said, “We have to look at the offline UPI also. There are segments of the population where they do have the feature phones only, which is going to be a game-changer in them joining in this financial inclusion and taking advantage of all the available things. We are keenly looking forward to getting all those folks into this Digital India. In the smaller cities, we have to look at network connectivity. So that’s why I think the offline thing is important. And there can be a hybrid model also. The customer has a feature phone while the merchant has connectivity.“
On the concluding note, Souvik Goswami closed the panel with a quote by Jeff Bezos “You won’t find anything hardly which doesn’t sell online”. There is a brighter future for digital payment players in India.