Credit and Finance for MSMEs: Private sector lender Axis Bank on Wednesday announced its partnership with digital payments provider PayNearby to launch savings and current bank accounts for last mile SME retailers and customers in order to tap potential customers in remote areas of the country. Hassle of documentation, long processes, technology, lack of proximity and fear of a formal environment, are common challenges faced by retailers and customers in these areas which the partnership intends to address, the bank said.
The tie-up will allow Axis Bank, which is the third largest private bank in India, to leverage PayNearby’s distribution-as-a-service (DaaS) network of over 50 lakh micro entrepreneurs across more than 20,000 pin codes, and provide access to financial solutions to retailers and customers without their need to travel long distances for banking services.
“The partnership will enable Axis Bank to extend its banking services to a huge customer base in semi-rural and rural regions and offer them an array of facilities along with the opening of a bank account,” said Munish Sharda, Group Executive and Head – Bharat Banking, Axis Bank at an event announcing the tie-up. However, Sharda didn’t divulge targets in terms of the number of businesses to be tapped under the partnership in the coming months.
Anand Kumar Bajaj, Founder, MD & CEO, PayNearby, said, “For India to become financially and digitally empowered at the last mile, it is important that the local retailers are given the necessary tools for their growth…We thank Axis Bank for making this process so easy and hassle-free, and for introducing biometric-based e-KYC-enabled account opening, in our network.”
Serving SMEs and customers in semi-rural and rural areas will also increase the uptake of the bank’s current account at the last mile, Axis Bank said. PayNearby’s existing infrastructure will also help Axis Bank bypass the challenge of the cost of acquisition and servicing customers in remote areas which often becomes unviable.
Incepted in April 2016, PayNearby essentially operates on a B2B2C model. The company partners with local retail stores and provides solutions for them to offer digital and financial services such as cash withdrawal, cash deposits, money transfer, savings, insurance, travel, digital payments, etc., to their local communities.