Subscription revenue, UPI integration and why goat’s feet make a great meal. EP’s CTO is back in India and shares his latest payments insights.
Bring us up to date – what has changed since your last trip?
I am absolutely floored by the breakneck speed of innovation in the fintech space in India, so a lot has changed. Indian consumers are increasingly consuming their content on digital platforms, driven by the ongoing internet and smartphone penetration boom. The moment I witnessed a daily commuter watching Narcos on Netflix on the local train I knew we were in for a fun journey for us payments geeks! Imagine the number of people who are now powered by lower cost smartphones and affordable data plans with proper internet speed.
What were your key payments takeaways?
The major milestones I saw were:
- Everyone wants to know what we are doing to enable blockchain in cross-border transactions. They are very savvy on the subject of cryptocurrencies.
- Mobile POS processing is the new norm. All my international excess baggage payments on domestic flights were processed using a mobile device.
- UPI adoption is increasing with Flipkart, Uber, foodPanda, Samsung and other merchants are embracing it in a big way.
The country is really leading the charge on UPI integration, which we know has significantly boosted digital payments adoption on the whole. What was your experience?
UPI recurring and one-time payments experience on mobile apps like Uber is extremely sleek and secure. No more having to enter your bank account details or credit card numbers to buy online or on mobile. Just save your UPI address and four-digit pin and you’re off to the races!
Much development has centered on financial inclusion. How has this evolved?
One of our partners, Rupay, has now launched credit cards after having successfully launched hundreds of millions of debit cards for financial inclusion. They have carved out a decent market share and are the only game in town for the burgeoning B, C and D level cities in India. These are cities where there are consumers that can afford cross-border goods and services, but Rupay is there only card option to buy online or mobile.
What is most important to digital merchants operating in India?
Our merchants want to leverage subscription revenue as much as possible. Fortunately, we are seeing more and more payment method development in India that meets this demand. The innovation in this area is impressive. Who would have known that there is a push for e-mandate to be able to pull recurring payments from a consumer’s bank account on an ongoing basis? But even bigger than that – it does not have to be a fixed amount, rather variable payments each monthly cycle. It is amazing how far we have come in supporting the subscription economy in India and I’m very excited Emergent is now able to offer recurring payments for debit cards.
And finally, no butter chicken for you, we hear you kept things traditional.
It’s hard to go past the local delicacies when you’re home. First up, I had Paya, which means feet, and that’s exactly what it is! The main ingredients of the dish are the trotters of goat, beef, buffalo or sheep (I had goat). It’s left to cook overnight in a soup of sautéed onions, garlic and of course lots of spices. Goat was my meat of choice again when I had Nihari. It’s a stew, also slow cooked overnight, with ginger, garlic and coriander. It just melts in your mouth. Two serves please!