Many thought that the draconian demonetization of 2016 would have moved India’s digital financial services industry into an entirely different level. It created momentum, but not as much as expected according to the NYT. According to the report only 14 percent of those able to go online (around 1/3rd of Indians) use digital payments. But what is important is that the Indian firms are focusing on consumer payments, not money transfers. There’s a much stronger contribution to the building of the eco system through this means.
Leading India’s budding payments shift are Paytm and its chief executive, Vijay Shekhar Sharma.
Mr. Sharma founded the company seven years ago as a way for cellphone users to pay their bills online. It is now India’s largest consumer-payments app, with 302 million account holders and 90 million active users.
Customers can use it to buy goods at physical stores, book movie or airline tickets, send money to each other or order items from Paytm’s online mall. A transaction requires a quick scan of a merchant’s bar code or a few taps on a smartphone, rivaling Apple Pay or Venmo in simplicity.
Mr. Sharma aspires to put his company at the center of Indians’ financial lives, and he has pledged to spend $1.9 billion over the next two years toward that goal.