Credit card payments now a reality without swipe machine

The new Paytm feature for its mobile wallet application allows small merchants to accept credit and debit card payments by declaring bank account details

Based in Delhi, I track developments both in corporate and economy sectors. In a career spanning since 2003, I track developments pertaining to M&A, PE/VC, startups and healthcare. Prior to joining Forbes, I have had stints with The Economic Times, Businessworld, India Today and Indian Express. I am also a guest faculty at The Indian Institute of Mass Communication (Dhenkenal) where I deliver part-time lectures to young aspiring journalists and teach them the practical side of reporting and editing. And when not working, I love to travel and spend time with my fawn Labrador.

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(Image: Bloomicon / Shutterstock - for illustrative purposes only)

At a time when all eyes are on smaller merchants who have borne the brunt of demonetisation, digital payments company Paytm has rolled out a feature for its mobile wallet application that allows them to accept all credit and debit card payments without possessing a point-of-sale (PoS) or a card swipe machine.

In what seems to the first time in India, small shopkeepers and businesses can now self-declare their details and give bank account details to start receiving payments instantly by downloading the Paytm app.

Vijay Shekhar Sharma, Founder and CEO at Paytm, said: “In India, we require a very innovating mobile POS machine and Paytm has already been accepted by many merchants,” The move is to facilitate transactions on the digital platform, he added.

As per data available with Paytm, there are about 74 crore debit and credit card holders in the country and about 55 crore account holders across public and private banks. Besides, there are as many as 14.8 lakh PoS machines that are used by 7 lakh retailers across India.

The move is expected to give a much-needed breather to smaller merchants who have seen their sales dip with the government’s decision to recall old Rs 500 and Rs 1,000 notes on November 8, which led to severe cash crunch in the economy.

“We have seen a significant rise in the number of Paytm users in the country in the last two weeks,” said Sharma. “The highest number of Paytm users is from Hyderabad and Chennai,” he added. It is indeed interesting to see Bangalore, Delhi and Mumbai are not in the top list.

Going forward, Paytm aims to empower over 15 million merchants across the country by enabling them to accept debit and credit card payments at zero setup fee and zero introductory transaction processing cost.

Currently, over 15,00,000 offline and online merchants across India accept Paytm as their preferred payment mode. Paytm is accepted everywhere including taxi, autos, petrol pumps, grocery shops, restaurants, coffee shops, multiplexes, parking, pharmacies, hospitals, kirana shops, newspaper vendors and many more.

Wholesale Channel
The immediate impact may be seen in the wholesale channel that is likely to face supply disruptions, the result of which will be seen in the December quarter.  As per a report released by Bank of America Merrill Lynch, the wholesale channel forms over 40% of the sales for the Indian consumer firms (especially in staples). This channel works mainly on cash transactions and is likely witness liquidity constraints in the near term. That apart, the report also points out a possible slowdown in discretionary spending, especially in high ticket items such as jewellery.

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