Mobile payment solutions start up Ezetap aims to connect small towns and villages in India with businesses through its mobile Point of Sale (mPoS) services, which it says will also help in financial inclusion.
Founded in 2011, the Bangalore-based start-up counts PayPal founder Peter Thiel and credit card giant American Express among its investors.
Global banking giant Citibank has approved Ezetap’s service as the first mobile Point of Sale (mPoS) service globally, while the company is payments technology major Visa’s global preferred mPoS partner outside of the US/Europe.
Ezetap’s mobile payment platform, which turns any mobile device into a point of sale (PoS) payment terminal, provides a cost-effective alternative like micro-ATMs to reach 6,00,000 villages in India and connect them with banks, insurance companies and even online shopping sites, a top company official said.
“Access to cash is seen as a key requirement of banking and most financial inclusion initiatives have had limited success. People are rightfully paranoid with the idea that when they urgently need access to cash, they have to travel 20 km to the neighbouring town and eventually find an ATM,” Ezetap Co-founder and CEO Abhijit Bose said.
Despite, banks scaling their ATM networks, the size and scope of the problem means the rate of growth is always behind the demand, he added.
Explaining about the PoS device, Ezetap Co-founder and Chairman Sanjay Swamy said: “The solution is offered at an enticing price point of Rs 499 (as a non-refundable deposit) with a monthly fee of Rs 150 and commission of Rs 5 per cash back transaction.”
Any legitimate business can open a zero balance current account with SBI and any Android or Windows phone or Tablet with a WiFi or data connection. For any PoS transactions, the amount plus commission are settled the next day into the bank account of the merchant, he added.
“Also when people know they can go to the neighbourhood store and withdraw cash, more people will be comfortable keeping cash in the bank and over time realise they could just as easily shop and pay directly from their bank account,” Swamy said.
The firm is also a perfect example for Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s ambitious ‘Make in India’ programme, he said.
“Ezetap is the only mPoS company who do their own design, hardware manufacturing, software development, integration with banks as well as customers’ back end Online transaction processing (OLTP) systems, to offer a complete solution to business problems,” Bose said.
Analysts feel that as India grapples with the issue of financial inclusion, with operating cost and user charges forming an important dimension, such technologies can provide an efficient, secure and cost-effective alternative.
Besides, the growing demand for fast and secure payments from sectors ranging from banking & insurance to eCommerce, particularly in the rural and unbanked areas, has also aided the growth of mobile payment solutions firms, analysts said.
“Our endeavour is to develop cost-effective and affordable solutions that can not only help to spread financial inclusion, but also provide avenues to other businesses like eCommerce to spread to the small towns and villages across India,” Bose said.
One such example is the deal signed with the State Bank of India, where Ezetap will provide the public sector bank 500,000 PoS devices over 5 years, he added.
Elaborating on the business, he added Ezetap is live in multiple countries across Africa and South East Asia. Its customers include leading eCommerce firms, bill payment and collections, insurance, FMCG, restaurants and hospitality, retail, taxi services among others.
“We have over 5,000 merchants which includes a mix of large enterprises and SMEs across more than 600 cities, many of which use our new cash@PoS service,” Bose said.
Meanwhile, Swamy said that eCommerce firms like Big Basket, Urban Ladder and some of the largest online retailers in India also use Ezetap devices for Card on Delivery collection.
In insurance, Bajaj Allianz is a customer, while Janalakshmi and Micropension use Ezetap’s solutions to provide financial services, he added.
“We also expanding out footprint outside India. In the next 6 months, Ezetap’s service will go live in two countries in South East Asia, one in Africa and one in the Middle East,” Bose said.
The firm is already providing services to agri-products major BIDCO in Kenya.