Small merchants app BharatPe buys loyalty platform Payback from AmEx, ICICI Investments Strategic Fund

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June 10, 2021 12:56 PM

The deal will also allow BharatPe to foray into the business-to-consumer side and is “in line with BharatPe’s strategy to build a robust and engaged network of over 20 million small merchants by 2023," the company said.

Bama Balakrishnan, COO, Northern Arc, said: “Northern Arc has worked towards extending credit to like-minded organisations such as BharatPe that enable financial access to small businesses and merchants across the country.The app allows shop owners to accept payments through a single QR code from all payment apps such as Paytm, PhonePe, Google Pay, BHIM, etc.

Payments app for small merchants and kirana store owners BharatPe has acquired the loyalty programme and rewards platform for online shopping Payback India from American Express (AmEx) and ICICI Investments Strategic Fund. Through this first-ever acquisition by BharatPe, which has over 6 million merchants, over 100-million-user strong Payback India will become its wholly-owned subsidiary, BharatPe announced on Thursday. The deal will also allow the company to foray into the business-to-consumer side and is “in line with BharatPe’s strategy to build a robust and engaged network of over 20 million small merchants by 2023,” the company said on Thursday. While BharatPe didn’t disclose the deal amount but it is reportedly pegged between $25-30 million.

BharatPe didn’t immediately comment on confirming the deal amount.

The app allows shop owners to accept payments through a single QR code from all payment apps such as Paytm, PhonePe, Google Pay, BHIM, etc. Last year, the company had launched its zero merchant discount rate (MDR) card acceptance terminals called BharatSwipe. It claimed to process over 10 crores UPI transactions per month with annualized transaction processed value of over $10 billion. On the other hand, Covid, which has impacted retailers the most due to the pandemic, has necessitated online payments for such businesses who have otherwise preferred cash as the primary channel for transactions.

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BharatPe said the acquisition will enable the company to build “lucrative offerings” for end customers, that will enhance footfalls at merchants and accelerate the growth of their businesses. The deal will absorb all Payback India employees into BharatPe group while Suhail Sameer and Gautam Kaushik, Group President at BharatPe along with General Counsel Sumeet Singh will join the Payback India’s board. Moreover, the role of the senior leadership at Payback will be expanded towards working on the loyalty program for BharatPe’s merchants. However, Payback will retain its name.

“In addition to the range of payment and credit products which BharatPe offers to help merchants scale their business, we will also be able to drive more consumers to their stores,” Ashneer Grover, Co-Founder and CEO, BharatPe said in a statement. “Users can collect points while shopping offline and online and benefit from exclusive offers in the usual way, now at even more merchants with BharatPe,” said Markus Knorr, Chief Financial Officer, Payback Global. Launched in 2010, Payback India allows customers to earn and redeem points on every transaction at its partner merchant outlets.

Bharat claimed to have facilitated the disbursement of loans as well worth over Rs 1,600 crores to its merchants since its launch. The startup has raised nearly $300 million so far from investors including Coatue Management, Ribbit Capital, Insight Partners, Steadview Capital, Beenext, Amplo, and Sequoia Capital.

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