Ease of Doing Business for MSMEs: Walmart-owned fintech PhonePe has enabled online payments for 80 lakh merchants in the last 18 months as a part of the Reserve Bank of India’s Payments Infrastructure Development Fund (PIDF) scheme, said PhonePe in the company’s statement.
The PIDF scheme was set up by RBI to subsidize the cost of Points of Sale (PoS) infrastructure (physical and digital modes) in tier-III to tier-VI towns and North Eastern states of the country.
Data from the payments platform showed that out of all north-eastern states, merchants in Assam were the fastest to adopt online payments technology as more than 2.5 lakh merchants came onboard in 2022 as compared to 10,000 in 2020. Following Assam on the number of merchants adopting online payments were the states of Tripura, Meghalaya, Arunachal Pradesh, Nagaland, Sikkim, and Mizoram.
Online and offline transactions in the region also rose to more than 2 crore transactions in the first quarter of this year vis-a-vis 1 lakh in the first quarter of 2018.
Vivek Lohcheb, Head of Offline Business of the company said, “In the past it was unviable for companies like us to spend money in rural areas as the market is very scattered, and there was a need to make significant investments in terms of manpower to digitize merchants in remote areas. The PIDF scheme has boosted that infrastructure and is helping us create universal acceptance in every nook and corner of the country.”
PhonePe has plans to leverage its existing infrastructure to bring the merchants on the government’s e-commerce platform, Open Network for Digital Commerce (ONDC).
On the cards is the plan to launch a Smart Speaker that will give payment alerts to merchants upon receiving the payment. They have already launched the speakers in eight cities and have digitized 3.2 crore merchants across the country.