India’s payments space to mature, says Paytm founder & CEO Vijay Shekhar Sharma

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January 20, 2021 6:10 AM

While the cumulative opportunity was enormous and while it would be ‘fancy’ to count the number of payments transactions, all players he said would worry about whether they can monetise the customer base.

paytmPaytm. Representational image

Paytm founder & CEO Vijay Shekhar Sharma on Tuesday said competition in the payments space will become more mature. “In the next two years, every payments business in this country will talk sustainability, profitability,” Sharma said in a conversation with Anant Goenka, executive director, The Indian Express, at the India Digital Summit.

Commenting on the competitive scenario in payments, Sharma observed that much like in other industries there are always several starters after which there will be a period of rationalisation. “When we started as a payments business, our challengers were different, today they don’t exist. And I can say that two years ahead our challengers will be different from those today,” he said.

While the cumulative opportunity was enormous and while it would be ‘fancy’ to count the number of payments transactions, all players he said would worry about whether they can monetise the customer base.

Sharma observed that payments are very fundamental so inevitably various options will exist, including credit cards, though the way these would be used would change. “What, however, sets Paytm aside in the game is that we do not depend on any outside player to build on scale and abilities,” he said,” Sharma added. “There will be face payments too in this country very soon,” he said, “ where faces would be scanned to make a payment”.

Banks and fin-techs are co-existing, Sharma said, adding they are all babies of a regulator called the central bank. “We are happy to have built partnerships with banks. When it comes to tech companies, if there is a level playing field, we are the unambiguous winners,” he said. He said concentration of power could not stop progress in technology else we would not have seen so many technology giants. So many big giants have needed to acquire other companies, he pointed out.

Assuaging concerns around security that arise out of Paytm being backed by Chinese investors, Sharma said “at least in our board and in our operations, we run all our software technology platforms by ourselves…no shareholder has a say on what we should do. Effectively, all shareholders are treated as commercial shareholders. The board seat and the board control is in India’s hands. We at Paytm believe that we would stand for an opportunity that India creates.”

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