Helping the underbanked to use the digital is the aim:
Payworld, an aggregator, which offers mobile financial services like money transfer, recharges, bill payments, insurance POS and GST filings as well SME loans, especially in the semi-urban and rural areas, has now started offering training for the target consumers and the retailers on using the services. “This is intended to bring about a behavioral change among the consumers, especially in the rural areas and this has in fact helped us as there is huge uptake of the financial services among this segment of the population,” says Praveen Dhabhai, COO of the company. “We definitely feel that this will be the way forward for the entire sector,” he hastens to add.
Dhabhai explains that the company, founded by Sugal & Damani group of companies in 2006, has built a formidable presence in country with over 190,000 active retail touch-points across 630 cities and 23 states providing access to the untouched market segments to the service providers. “In fact, we aggregate basic banking services like money remittance, mutual funds, loans, insurance, cash-out facility, domestic money remittance, AEPS and utility bill payments, in addition to other services such as mobile recharging, bus/train/flight ticket booking from various service providers on a single platform,” says he.
Payworld, according to Dhabhai, facilitates a consumer to do transactions by visiting retail touch points and making payments either digitally or in cash. These retail points use Payworld’s application which runs on desktops, laptops and mobile phones. Some 100 million transactions are done using this platform every year through the active retail touch points.
Dhabhai says digital and financial literacy is the major challenge which the firm faces while catering to this segment of the population. Most of them are uneducated and are unaware of existence of digital facilities which can bring ease to their lives and to overcome that “we are training the target consumers and the retailer on using the services.
How does he justify the philosophy that it proffers ‘Making Life Simple’?
Says Dhabhai: “Most of the fintech companies and banks cater to the urban population and the privileged sections of the society, ignoring the poor or the uneducated. We sought to reverse the trend and initially catered to the migrant labor population, which needed to send money back home, as well as people who do not know how to use a debit card/internet banking to carry out transactions online. Our services are also intended for people who do not know how to buy a train ticket or purchase an insurance policy online. Our mobile PoS devices are used by retailers to accept payments from their customers through credit/debit card for the goods/services sold to them. This device also works as mini ATM, which means anyone can withdraw up to `2000 from any partner retail outlet by swiping their debit/ATM cards. The ultra-portable device can be used to enable card acceptance at the customer’s doorstep as well. We are able to provide all basic and some complex financial services to the section of the population which was ignored by the giants of the industry and we have a strong network of more than 190,000 retailers focusing on providing these services to the rural consumers on a daily basis. That is how ‘we make life simple’ for people in the remote areas in the best possible manner.”
He adds that Payworld provides the last mile connectivity to the entire alliance partners for the specific target segment of consumers. “We wanted to focus on people, who do not have the bandwidth and knowledge to use a debit card/internet banking to fill money in his wallet and then do a transaction. We are targeting people who are otherwise difficult to reach out to. Banks continue to follow traditional methods of distribution and they find the delivery daunting. The inclusion of the last man in the pyramid - a vegetable vendor or a village tailor or a cycle repair mechanic - never happened. We aimed to reach the untapped population,” says he.
Payworld has have tied up with some of the renowned names in the industry, which include YES Bank and RBL Bank for money remittances and AEPS, State Bank of India and HDFC Bank for Cash Out / mPOS, NPCI for IMPS transactions, YES Bank for UPI and lately with Reliance Mutual Fund for financial inclusion of low-income households at the bottom of the pyramid.
Dhabhai says Payworld has tied up with NBFC Capital Float for its loan services. For micro, small and medium enterprises and retailers, the average loan ticket size is `30,000-`50,000 while for end-users, the average loan amount is below `10,000. “Well, the loan service which we offer is much hassle free as the route is through retailers. They do everything for consumers and make their life simpler,” says he.
Payworld has digitized almost 100% of its services. It has a state-of-the-art ICT infrastructure.
Praveen Dhabhai points out that Payworld targets customers who are not conversant with digital transactions