Think out of the box to make digital payments a success, say experts

4 Jun, 2015

Yet, only three per cent of personal consumption expenditure is said to be happening through credit/debit cards. About 10 per cent of billing in the country is processed through electronic channels.

At the recently held Techcircle Payments Forum 2015 in Mumbai, eminent panelists discussed how digital payments can be made more reliable and scalable. They discussed ways of syncing electronic payments with the day-to-day life of a common man.

The panel was moderated by T R Ramachandran, group country manager, India and South Asia, VISA. Sohini Rajola, SVP and head, electronic banking, Axis Bank, Vishwas Patel,CEO, CCAvenues, Deepak Sharma, EVP and head, digital initiatives, Kotak Mahindra Bank, and Srinivasu M N, co-founder and director, BillDesk, were the other panelists..

The observations made by the panelists can be summarised as below:

Sohini Rajola, SVP and head, electronic banking, Axis Bank

Electronics payments account for only three per cent of personal consumption expenditure in India as we are very limited in our thinking when we seek to expand. With debit and credit cards, we have tried to do different things but have been unsuccessful in making much headway.

We have either tried to do the same product or have different products for the same people. I think with digital, we have the opportunity to think differently. For here is a virgin territory which can be addressed in a collective way.

Vishwas Patel,CEO, CCAvenues

The real issue is that all of us are trying to do different things and are coming up with different wallets for the same audience. Audience expansion is not happening. Today, the government will not be interested in a product unless it is targeted at the rural audience. That's the key.

Deepak Sharma, EVP & Head - Digital Initiatives, Kotak Mahindra Bank

Be it India (urban India) or Bharat (semi urban and rural India), we need to create a frictionless payments ecosystem. The key is to know how is Bharat spending vis-à-vis India. If all the payments are in cash then can't build a digital payments system. Even if you look at wallets its not that consumers are going and funding these wallets. Today, there are e-commerce firms that are dishing out sweet deals for somebody to fund the wallet and to ensure that they get refunds or discounts for loading the wallet with cash. I think the the source itself has to be tapped and unless you bring money into the bank account or a mobile money account, you just can't create a digital payment system.

Srinivasu M N, co-founder and director, BillDesk

India has infrastructure issues across the entire payments divide. Till you solve these basic challenges, nothing that you do on top of it will yield results. The entire ecosystem is focusing on how to get consumers to pay more online. Currently the market is trying to distinguish between the people who want digital payments vis-à-vis those who look at 'how do I use' digital payments to acquire a customer for a different business.