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Even more than three years after demonetisation and all-out efforts to make most transactions through electronic, cash is still king, as it thrives in a digital India, said fintech start-up Paytm founder Vijay Sekhar Sharma.
“While cashless economy is not possible in India, less cash economy will be in the future. Less cash is the only solution, not the elimination of cash,” Sharma told IANS in an interview after unveiling an all-in-one payment gateway on Tuesday.
Asserting that it would take 5-10 years for India to make the transition to digital payments from the traditional mode of cash, Sharma, 41, said the e-payment industry benefitted more from the November 8, 2016 note ban and withdrawal of old Rs 1,000 and Rs 500 denominations.
“I think it (demonetisation) helped the industry despite lack of specific help. But the world has changed since then. It is about the scale of distribution of merchants that is what is propelling digital payments,” said Sharma.
Most of the cash not only came back into circulation, but also remains as the mode of payment for the majority due to its convenience for the people used to such transactions.
Expounding Paytm’s zero service charge, Sharma said the strategy is sustainable as it leads to acquiring more customers and merchants, enabling newer business opportunities.
Paytm also does not levy a service charge to small merchants for its payments services, unlike organised players like Uber.
“Though there is a monetisation model, the merchants who are small shopkeepers, become our financial services customers as they open a bank account, which is profitable.”
Paytm secured a Payments Bank license from the Reserve Bank of India to offer a savings bank account, Rupay debit card and money transfer services.
“We are banking on payment services acquiring customers and merchants who avail banking, lending, insurance, wealth and software services like billing software and business ledger software services eventually,” Sharma noted.
The mobile first bank services include zero balance and zero digital transaction charge accounts.
“Basically, payments, cloud, commerce and financial services are a cohort we follow. So, payments is our customer as well as merchant acquisition. If it breaks even, we are happy because other line items make more money, he affirmed.
Noting that in a market like India, one cannot price services at a premium unlike in a developed country like the US, the billionaire businessman said a consumer in a developing country would not be able to afford such a hefty charge.
Forbes ranked Sharma as India’s youngest billionaire in 2017, with a net worth of $2.1 billion.
While several countries operate on the model of higher service charges, Sharma said newer business models have to be discovered in India, as customer lifecycle value is accounted for more stages than in other nations.
Asked about an upscale retailer like Zara not giving a wallet payment option during its recent end of season sale in Bengaluru, Sharma said Paytm was addressing such hiccups with its all-in-one payment solutions.
“It’s an opportunity, because if the retailer has our all-in-one point of sale machine, where in they enter the amount, it shows both the Quick Response code (QR) and card payment options,” he observed.
Sharma compared older swiping payment machine to feature phones and modern ones to feature-rich smartphones.
“If you notice, they look like feature phones and the modern day card machine is more a smartphone like. You can add the smatphone components, which can add the features,” reiterated Sharma.
Though Paytm’s all-in-one QR point of sale machine integrates the billing system, its founder said it was not ideal to have an independent QR feature.
Paytm has 16 million strong merchant user base, which Sharma aims to raise to 26 million base in the next one year.
Sharma has launched in this tech city an all-in-one payment gateway and Paytm Business Payments solution, which enable digital payments through multiple methods for small and medium enterprises (SMEs) and an Android point of sale machine.
With the new gateway solution, collecting digital payments through multiple methods can be achieved seamlessly while Paytm Business Payments solution enables automated vendor payments, including employee salaries and customer refunds among others.
The One97 Communications-owned Paytm aims to help SMEs streamline and digitise their business activities using its new solutions, which enhance the overall efficiency of both accepting and making payments.
Paytm has a data bank of over 200 million saved cards and bank accounts, a feature which enables partner apps to shorten transaction times and propel faster conversions while using the all-in-one payment gateway.
Complementing the two solutions, Sharma also launched an all-in-one Android point of sale machine, which can accept payments through all forms such as cards, wallets, UPI apps and even cash.
The device has a QR code that supports all contact and contactless payments, coming with integrated billing software customized solutions for different sectors such as catering, ticketing, parking and others.
The handheld Android device is equipped with an in-built printer, scanner and can also generate bills.
Valued at $16 billion, Paytm is not alone in the fiercely competitive Indian fintech space where a dozen players like PhonePe, MobiKwik, Kotak 811 and deep pocketed international giants Google Pay and Amazon Pay are in the fray. (IANS)
With the festive season on in full swing, iconic brand Johnnie Walker, is all set to re-energize the country's after-hour culture. Through its one-of-a-kind campaign #RevibeTheNight, the brand brings together beloved music artists like Divine, Ritviz, Lisa Mishra, Taba Chake along with popular indie bands like When Chai Met Toast and Mad Boy Mink, among others to perform live across iconic community spaces in India.
The collaborative effort by Johnnie Walker aims to bring back the after-hour culture through live performances across popular hotspots in India. The brand's goal is drive social regeneration in India and bring back the vibe of socializing through local music artists and reignite the trade, driving social culture by executing the live events with Covid measures in place and a limited capacity audience capacity.
The collaborative effort by Johnnie Walker aims to bring back the after-hour culture through live performances across popular hotspots in India. | Photo by Vishnu R Nair on Unsplash
Prior to the world going into lockdown, the after-hour culture in India bloomed at celebrated community hubs, that eventually became a safe-haven for individuals, a place where they found their sense of self-expression and belonging, that fuelled progress. This community was driven through the culture of live music and enthralling performances that created their very own vibe, a vibe that built extraordinary, forever-lasting relationships. Through #ReVibeTheNight, one can reconnect with this community bringing music curated by artists who have a history of captivating crowds with their one-of-a-kind live experiences. Catch the gigs and live performances for artists in these venues/cities for the live performances.
(Artiicle originally published on IANSlife) (IANS/ MBI)
Keywords: johnnie walker, social, #revibethenight, performances, community, artists, culture, festivity, begin
By Nikhila Natarajan
In a continuing study on the effects of machine learning (ML) on public conversation, Twitter has confirmed that its algorithms amplify right-leaning political content. "In six out of seven countries - all but Germany - tweets posted by accounts from the political right receive more algorithmic amplification than the political left when studied as a group," Twitter blogged.
"Right-leaning news outlets, as defined by the independent organisations, see greater algorithmic amplification on Twitter compared to left-leaning news outlets." Since 2016, Twitter users are able to choose between viewing algorithmically ordered tweets first in their home timeline or viewing the most recent tweets in reverse chronological order.
"An algorithmic home timeline displays a stream of tweets from accounts we have chosen to follow on Twitter, as well as recommendations of other content Twitter thinks we might be interested in based on accounts we interact with frequently, tweets we engage with, and more. "As a result, what we see on our timeline is a function of how we interact with Twitter's algorithmic system, as well as how the system is designed."
The new research is based on tweets of elected officials of House of Commons members in Canada, the French National Assembly, the German Bundestag, House of Representatives in Japan, Congress of Deputies of Spain, House of Commons in the UK, and official and personal accounts of House of Representatives and Senate members in the US, as well as news outlets, from April 1 to August 15, 2020.
Tweets about political content from elected officials, regardless of party or whether the party is in power, do see algorithmic amplification when compared to political content on the reverse chronological timeline. | Photo by Sara Kurfeß on Unsplash
The study was conducted by Ferenc Huszar (Twitter, University of Cambridge), Sofia Ira Ktena (now at DeepMind Technologies), Conor O'Brien (Twitter), Luca Belli (Twitter), Andrew Schlaikjer (Twitter), and Moritz Hardt (UC Berkeley).
The questions probed were:
How much algorithmic amplification does political content from elected officials receive in Twitter's algorithmically ranked Home timeline versus in the reverse chronological timeline? Does this amplification vary across political parties or within a political party?
Are some types of political groups algorithmically amplified more than others? Are these trends consistent across countries?
Are some news outlets amplified more by algorithms than others? Does news media algorithmic amplification favour one side of the political spectrum more than the other?
Tweets about political content from elected officials, regardless of party or whether the party is in power, do see algorithmic amplification when compared to political content on the reverse chronological timeline. (IANS/ MBI)
Keywords: algorithmically, timeline, algorithmic, tweets, political, survey, twitter, study, germany, skew
Even as India celebrates reaching a milestone of 100 crore Covid vaccine doses, Snapdeal co-founder and COO Rohit Bansal on Friday lauded a man who facilitated 64 registrations for the vaccine on the CoWin portal. In a video shared on his Facebook and Twitter page, Bansal hailed Sonu Kumar as a "citizen celebrity".
Bansal said that Kumar not only helped "just co-workers and family but complete strangers too. With patience, empathy and uncanny jugaad". He added that Kumar joined him "many moons ago" and completed his open school from a parking lot.
"Education has helped this wonderful man enable others to get India back on track. Bravo! The CoWin portal on Thursday mentioned that a total of 100 crore vaccine doses has been administered so far to the eligible population under the vaccination drive in India, nine months after the nationwide inoculation programme was started to protect the people against Covid-19.
"It's a cause of significant celebration and happiness," Bansal said in the video. He said that while people just help a few around them, Kumar "bridged the digital gap" for 64 people, who were finding it difficult to register themselves online on the vaccine portal. Kumar said he doesn't feel that he has contributed much towards the 100 crore vaccine dose count. "I have been able to help only 64 people, if I was able to help more I would have been happier." (IANS/ MBI)
Keywords: cowin, covid, india, people, Rohit bansal, Sonu kumar, vaccine, snapdeal, registrations