COD will give way to payment on delivery soon, say experts

24 Jan, 2013

Online payments ecosystem is evolving and is at a stage where payments will move from the majorly popular cash on delivery (COD) to payment on delivery. Going by the experts at Techcircle's Payments and Loyalty forum, for consumers it is more about the perceived power of shopping than the mode of payment being adopted.

Forming the panel discussion titled 'Payments in India- Opportunities, Challenges and Ecosystem' were Vivek Nayak, COO, Avenues India, Nishanth Chandran, co-founder and CEO, E-billing Solutions and Kumar Karpe, CEO, TechProcess Solutions.

The discussion's main theme was how the payments are evolving and what should customers expect in the near future. "As opposed to offline shopping, the perceived power of online shopping lies with the merchant and that is precisely why COD is so popular. People want the control over their money," Nayak said, highlighting the issues in online shopping.  Karpe, on the other hand, stated that COD is just another mode of payment. "We are a cash-supportive society. Also for Indian audience look and feel of the products is extremely important which is why they want to see the product first and then pay. Soon, there will be a time where COD will give way to payment on delivery. In fact we are already seeing it with card on delivery mode," he said.

Talking about the online payments regulations in India, Nayak wondered if the RBI acted faster than it should have had. RBI's guidelines on two-point authentication, which involve an OTP in case of debit/credit card authentication, have not been entirely popular with the payment gateways. The panelists agreed that all these measures have been taken to instil confidence in the consumers in this nascent market, which is utmost important. "In the last 2-3 years the industry has gone through a lot of changes and thus the reaction of RBI to enforce certain guidelines is quite understandable. That said with more regulations coming in picture, the risk becomes of the issuer and not of the merchant and thus in a way helps us," said Karpe.

Chandran stated that due to the regulations the consumers are moving to net banking from the previously popular debit card transactions. "Overall, confidence of consumers in online transactions is increasing, but only for convenience people are now moving to net banking from cards," he said.

Getting to one of the biggest issues being faced by the consumers, Nayak dwelt on the prevailing system of return payments on failed transactions or a refund. The panelists agreed that banks need to take a forward position to make the situation better. "The backend needs to be fixed in cases of return payments. We are aware that it is one of the biggest woes of the consumer but things are moving forward. Payments need to be a part of the business model to be able to change the scenario," Karpe said.

"Many initiatives are being taken for the consumers and in the next 2 years or so, the payments business will evolve. All we need to do is to focus on value proposition than price proposition," Chandran said.

The crux remains that consumer is indeed the king. Whether it is cash on delivery or payment on delivery or better return payment mechanism, all measures are being taken keeping the consumer in mind. All this, to give a fillip to the e-commerce industry, which needs to take into confidence the shoppers.

(Edited by Prem Udayabhanu)