The cashless world saw an evolution when plastic money and mobile wallets were introduced. And what startup YELDI has done, may change the way transactions take place.
The Chennai-based startup has been working on near-field communication (NFC) technology as a medium for transactions. NFC is a short-range radio technology that enables communication between devices, without direct physical touch.
The startup is a brainchild of Ra Arjunamurthy, Founder and CMD, YELDI Softcom, who with his daughter Lakshmideepa, set out on journey to bring NFC technology as a useful tool in the cashless world.
“My father wanted to develop a business model which would benefit the masses. And that is the driving force behind YELDI” said Lakshmideepa.
So how does this entire mechanism function?
The YELDI ecosystem works through an interplay of a YELDI card and handset. While a merchant is given a handset controlled through over-the-air (OTA), you will hold a YELDI card developed in association with NXP Semiconductors. Once you have subscribed for a YELDI card, which will be associated with a particular bank, you need to top-up it with cash to suffice your needs. You can go to your nearest store which is facilitated with a YELDI handset and shop using the card. On completion of your purchase, bring your card near the handset which shall be tapped once by the shopkeeper in order to activate its tag. As and when the connection is established, your payment will be successful, for which you shall get an instant message as well.
The mobile app inbuilt in the handsets can be customised for each customer and can be used to notify them about attractive offers and other details. With every handset given to a retailer, the latter also gets 500 YELDI cards with it.
“When we started, the term NFC was rather new. And using it in the digital payment space was completely unheard of. As a result, what we have developed is not just new but useful as well. It is basically a ‘touch and go’ mode of payment”, said YELDI chairman Arjunamurthy.
YELDI is on the cusp of launching new products and applications. To name a few – prepaid payment systems in association with banks (AXIS Bank in India, NDB Bank in Sri Lanka), customer loyalty programs for all kinds of retail businesses like F&B outlets, convenience stores, multiplexes, beauty parlours, apparel stores, etc. It also aims to introduce secure NFC handsets for both corporates and consumers.
“A customer is bound to have apprehensions in a technology like this. But our security setup for this mechanism is strong enough. While a normal card has a CVV and its date of validity mentioned on the card, which can be misused, our card is contact-less. There’s no CVV or any other numerical. All it requires is a PIN, which the customer has to memorise,” he added.
So, why would one want to switch over to an NFC card? As new as this technology may sound, it’s use in the payment space can make exchanges and transactions a lot smoother and faster. Since, cash needs to be preloaded in the card, one can make a rough budget and top-up the card accordingly. Especially for household women who can make a budget for their YELDI card and utilise it even at kirana shops.
The company has been bootstrapping since its commencement. It aims to become a prominent figure in Chennai where it is currently headquartered and wants to become the most preferred payment making option in future. “As of now, we have extended our operations in the Anna Nagar market, Chennai.We are monitoring the merchant-customer behavior in this locality and shall slowly expand our operations to the other parts of Tamil Nadu”, said Arjunamurthy.