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Article: Local Vendors going Cashless without Smartphones

March, 2017

Mohammed Maccarim Badrudeen, Founder & CEO, PayTonic, elaborates on the innovative solution for ambitious small business owners who would want to accept the cards that customers swing in their faces, but have no clue how to

In a world where going cashless is the new mantra, a majority of the working class find the idea of online payments a horse of another color. For years together, a local newspaper vendor or a milkman or a vegetable vendor or a dhobhi or other such people have always believed in cash transactions, and continue to do so even today. This segment of vendors forms the backbone of every household in this country, where dealing with them on an everyday basis is inevitable and yet who are worlds apart from the customers they serve. Increasingly, they are being faced with questions about accepting alternate modes of payment but easing them into the routine still remains a challenge - a challenge that banks and wallet providers are trying to tackle head on but have had little success.  

There is no doubt that unlocking this segment is the key to a cashless India: simply due to the nature of these recurring transactions and the sheer volume. Back of the envelope guesstimates point to a potential of about 5.5 billion transactions a year with volumes running into lakhs of crores in the top 20 cities. But the challenges that need to be addressed are humungous too.

To address most of these, YES BANK has joined hands with PayTonic- an upcoming startup with a promise of enabling these lowest rung vendors to accept electronic payments- even without a smartphone.

A prime hurdle in enabling these vendors is lack of knowhow in handling a smartphone. Expecting them to master a payment app is simply far-fetched. PayTonic has created an SMS based 1 minute registration process which is simple for even a feature phone holder.

PayTonic is a payment network that allows payment to any mobile number in India. While the sender needs PayTonic app to pay, the receiver has no such compulsion. Whether the receiver has a smartphone or a particular app is irrelevant with PayTonic. Hence, the merchant doesn’t need a smartphone. All they need is an active mobile number and a bank account.

Powered by YES BANK, PayTonic aspires to be the solution a small vendor so craves. For years all of us have come across many ambitious small business owners who want to accept the cards that customers swing in their faces, but have no clue how to. Recently, there is also inhibition and hesitation to load and unload virtual wallets. Hence, PayTonic was created as an enabler for easy transfers between bank accounts. PayTonic is not a wallet. There is no money to be loaded in PayTonic. PayTonic enables transfers using credit cards, debit cards, net banking, mobile wallets & UPI straight to a bank account. This helps ease security related anxiety as money is always in the bank and not in a 3rd party wallet.

PayTonic is currently being adopted by anyone and everyone – roadside vendors, retailers, milkmen, newspaper vendors, cable operators, house maids, drivers, a host of freelancers etc. Apart from facilitating Peer to Business transactions, PayTonic is also an uncomplicated choice when it comes to Peer to Peer transfers.

It is important for our fraternity to realize that it is our responsibility to work towards financial inclusion of the unbanked sector as well. By providing them with solutions and helping them open bank accounts, we are ensuring financial stability, freedom from domestic abuse and bright future for their kids. Ultimately any solution that we come up with is only helpful if it transcends acceptance capability or if everyone adopts it.

Recently, to cater to evolved business owners, PayTonic has launched the ‘PayTonic for Business’ app which includes customer management and invoicing abilities. For vendors who bill customers’ monthly like newspaper vendors or cable operators, the app comes in handy for communicating bill amounts and maintaining customer databases. PayTonic for Business targets vendors who are looking for an ‘on-the-go’ solution as opposed to expensive ERP based solutions that are packed with features that are hardly used.     

 

Opinions expressed in the article are the author’s own.

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