Paytm looks to 10 million more merchants

BENGALURU: Paytm founder Vijay Shekhar Sharma said the company is aiming to on-board 10 million new merchants, taking the total tally to 26 million by the end of the year as the mobile payments major continues to double down despite industry worries over zero merchant discount rate (MDR).
The Softbank and Alibaba-backed company, valued at $16 billion, has ramped up its focus on merchant payments as it faces increased competition from Google Pay and PhonePe.
Sharma said the government’s move to bring zero merchant discount rate (MDR) and mandating digital payments for businesses with a turnover of Rs 50 crore would be a ‘force multiplier’ for digital payments.
“It (zero MDR) creates a massive demand in the market. It is a force multiplier for the growth of digital payments in the country. Government should continue to support people who are acquiring these merchants. Nobody says it is not good for merchants, everyone says we should be funded and we are saying that the government should support them (industry),” he said. Among the new initiatives for merchants, Paytm is also enabling invoice management, ledger services and business payments of large ticket sizes.
The Noida-based company unveiled its all-in-one low-cost android-based point-of-sale (POS) machines that will accept payments via QR-codes, Unified Payments Interface (UPI) apps, cards, and even cash, on Tuesday. Paytm will charge somewhere between Rs 300-500 per month from merchants who will use the POS devices to accept payments.
Throughout last year, Sharma has shown growing inclination towards merchant payments, instead of peer-to-peer payments on UPI amidst incentives by rivals like PhonePe and Google Pay. “We already deployed around 1.5 lakh POS devices and that is giving us an incredible momentum. It is called all-in-one family from Paytm. QR goes to first time e-payments adopters, then sound-box is for high-frequency users and then POS is for every established use-case,” Sharma said.
In addition to this, Sharma also launched an internet-of-things enabled QR-code payment device, also referred to as sound-box, that will confirm payments by announcing it every time a transaction is completed.
According to him, of the 26 billion transactions last year, 15 billion were made to merchants and 9 billion of them were dominated by UPI and wallets. He said Paytm, on an annual-basis, has 150 million transacting users with 300 million registered wallets, 100 million UPI handles and 220 million saved cards.
With the increased focus on merchants, Paytm is also enabling these vendors to use its business app and generate payment links, make bulk payments instantly with same day settlements. The company is also diversifying across financial services business. While it has a mutual fund investment platform Paytm Money, the company is expected to obtain an insurance brokerage license soon too.

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