PayPoint has more than 100 service providers plugged into the company’s system to interact with the customers on a real-time basis:
PayPoint India’s digitally connected network of offline stores offer various financial services like PMJDY accounts, micro ATM services, wallets (Paypointz), remittances, bill payments, insurance, merchant QR and others. It also offers consumer services to the underserved like travel booking, recharges, Amazon assisted shopping, gift cards, etc, through its strong network of retail stores spread across the country. What is unique about the services is that it is a plug-and-play platform and has a large base of customers and retailers.
Ketan Doshi, Managing Director of the company, says the retailer-driven assisted model adopted by the company helps customers make informed decisions for availing services from their trained partners and its digital platform. “Our primary objective is to bridge the financial inclusion gap between developed urban India and under-served rural India,” he says.
The CAGR of the company’s customer additions in the last few financial years and incremental growth are significant. At the end of FY 2020, PayPoint outlets served over 22 million customers. Doshi says the present number of retailer / franchisee outlets across the country is 48,000+.and the CAGR over the past 5 years is 35% and the CAGR of increase in customers served by them is 52%. More than 100 service providers are plugged into the company’s system and it interacts with them on a real-time basis, catering to more than 4 million customers every month.
All transactions at PayPoint’s retail outlets happen digitally through its tech platform. It is a holder of RBI licensed PPI/ wallet. “Our customers have faith in us because our IT platform is very robust. Transactions happen smoothly, seamlessly and in real-time. Our success rate for transactions is 99.99%. Our retailers can access our server through various channels/ mediums – desktop, laptop, tablets, mobile phone, PoS device, QR code, and our own e-wallet,” says Doshi.
Even during covid times, PayPoint’s retailers and employees have been rendering service to the customers without interruptions. The service it delivers is considered to be an essential service by the government and Doshi says since the time the lockdown was announced, the retail partners and employees have been providing service to over 12 million customers till now. Because of this, many new customers have come to the platform even in these times of the pandemic, he adds.
PayPoint’s staff members provide periodic training / awareness programs for the retailers as well as its financially weaker sections, which are the customers. The awareness programs include inputs on financial literacy given in the model training program framed by RBI. Says Doshi: “Language is not a barrier because our employees and retail partners are usually local residents. In addition, we have our call center and chatbot to help our customers. We have our own in-house IT managed by our own team that is technologically sound and trained for handling the latest versions and innovations.”
ONLINE CRM TOOLS
PayPoint offers all services digitally using its IT own infrastructure. The transaction platform is enabled with all frontends like web, App, PoS and QR. It uses biometric readers and micro ATMs. Says Doshi: “Our transaction platform is vibrant. In fact, most used in the period of covid was our biometric system with mobile connectivity. All our customer support staff uses online CRM tools helping in seamless support even during the prevailing situation.”
Customer retention and satisfaction is of prime importance at PayPoint. A customer complaint is treated very seriously and resolved immediately. Data analytics and CRM tools play a big role in the growth of the company’s customer base as well as increase in the pocket share.
The prevailing NBFC crisis has not affected PayPoint because as of now it is not into credit business. It has partnership with some of the best and largest banks in India. Says Doshi: “Covid crisis did affect us to some extent but we got over it very quickly. AePS/ micro ATM and other withdrawals from bank accounts increased because of enhanced DBT. Our other businesses also picked up quite fast.”
PayPoint has started offering insurance products through its vast distribution network of retailers. Doshi says the company has tied up with many insurance companies and is offering multiple insurance solutions – life insurance, general insurance and health insurance. As all the offerings are made using technology, customers get the cover without any time lag. “We are now authorized to distribute government-sponsored insurance schemes including Pradhan Mantri Jeevan Jyoti Bima Yojana (PMJJBY) and Pradhan Mantri Suraksha Bima Yojana (PMSBY). Our trained staff educates users about the benefits of these schemes free of cost,” says Doshi.
OUTREACH: SMALL TICKET SIZE
While insurance agents normally shy away from small ticket size insurance policies because of low rates of commission, PayPoint has successfully managed to sell such policies both in urban and rural areas thereby increasing the insurance penetration in these areas. This was done by ensuring handsome compensation for the retailers associated with the company by cross-selling various other services such as utility bill payments, DTH recharges, mobile recharges, air and bus ticket bookings, etc. This allows retailers to get rid of their dependency on a single product/service to earn their livelihoods and diversify the offerings as well as earnings.
As covid has wreaked havoc and average citizens are scary about its implications, especially the charges involved in case one has to be hospitalized, which are abnormally high, PayPoint has come up with a plan to pay as much as 50% of cost of the insurance policies taken by its employees for the purpose. It is also offering free health consultancy (telephonic) for the employees, their families and 42,000 + retailers.
PARTNERING ALT BALAJI
Aiming to deepen its market presence and penetrate new markets, PayPoint has entered into a strategic partnership with ALTBalaji, Balaji Telefilns’ subscription-based video on demand platform, for OTT subscription. This initiative is primarily for the rural and semi-rural markets with a set of viewers who require digital-assistance and offline subscription payment options. Says Doshi: “The offline recharge for video-on-demand service is the first-of-its-kind industry initiative. The association will help ALTBalaji achieve higher subscriber base, while we will be adding one of its kind products to our kitty of services.”
IT-DIGITAL TARGETS, PLANS
For PayPoint, data center upgradation is a constant process. It has no plans to adopt the cloud or virtualization. It does not intend to introduce digital payment systems in the current financial year. Doshi says data structures are regularly reviewed and major activities are planned in the coming year. The company has the facility of doing e-KYC by using Aadhaar. This is a fool-proof method that is approved by RBI for the purpose of AML/CFT. Still there is no clarity from the regulator about video KYC. He also says APIs are being extensively used by the company.
“Despite the covid crisis, it is our endeavor to at least maintain our current growth rate if not improved, in the current financial year also,” says Doshi.
BANKING IN ASSAM FLOODS
Villages of many districts in Assam have been submerged by the ravaging floods in river Brahmaputra. The poor villagers have no access to any kind of service and have run out of cash to buy even things of most basic requirements. In these difficult times, Kashem Ali, a customer service provider of PayPoint India, has been rendering yeoman service silently, in his own small but innovative way, in Barpeta district of Assam. Every morning, says Ksetan Doshi, he sails on a local boat with his laptop, dongle for internet connectivity, fingerprint scanner, basic printer, etc. for over 6 kilometers in the dangerous and fast flowing waters of the river to provide banking service to 7 villages.
As PayPoint India delivers banking service in alliance with SBI, Kashem Ali is able to provide all the basic banking services, including withdrawal of funds from the accounts of other banks also. Doshi louds his efforts: “Lauding his efforts, Doshi says he has been providing this service daily, putting his own life to great risk, to over 2,200 residents of these small and inundated villages at a time when the villagers have no other means to access their own money lying in their accounts.”