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Investment & transaction history facilitates nano loans

Payworld is planning to reach Rs400 billion in GTV in the next 3 years:


Payworld is working toward the financial inclusion of the rural population by offering a gamut of services, including money remittance, mutual funds, insurance, AEPS transactions among others, through its network of retailers in India. Praveen Dhabhai, Chief Operating Officer, is the brain behind the unprecedented success in this sphere of financial services. Payworld is part of the US$ 2 billion Sugal and Damani group. Praveen, an alumillionus of the BITS Pilani, brings to Payworld a wealth of 20+ years of work experience.

Mehul Dani: How are fintechs disrupting the rural financial services market and making customized financial services available and affordable to the rural segment?

Praveen Dhabhai: Post demonetization, majority of the Indians shifted to digital payment platforms, giving a push to start-ups in this segment. Fast-forwarding, the spread of pandemic along with the government’s push to ‘Digital India,’ the popularity of this new-age method of spending has catapulted. It is the same time when the fintech companies, in collaboration with the banks, started to expand their reach to rural or semi-rural areas. Companies like ours were the ones who were busy educating the customers and making them aware of the benefits of digital payment platforms. With our assisted model, where a merchant or a retailer helps customers to pay via digital transaction, we’ve grown exponentially in the past few months. With this local touch, we’ve been able to make a strong bond with the customers based in remote rural locations.

Mehul Dani: How are fintech enabling consumers in rural & semi-urban India, digitally & financially independent, and drive small ticket size loans?

Praveen Dhabhai: I cannot say enough that the pandemic has expedited the process of evolution and adaption of digitalization in every industry. Hence, fintech players are evolving too. They are formulating various models in which they can lend money to the customers in need. For example, Payworld’s B2C service allow end consumers to avail nano personal loans based on their investment and transaction history. This is data is created with the help of AI and knowledge gathered from the local retailers.

Mehul Dani: What are the scope and opportunities for this type of market in India for fintechs? What is the current market size of this market?

Praveen Dhabhai: India, being the fastest growing economy of the world, has humungous potential in this segment. Even the ongoing global crisis failed to dampen the growth in this area. On the contrary, it pushed it further to the northwards. Of the overall fintech market, the market size for the assisted model is around 60%. The Indian fintech industry remained attractive even during the pandemic. Fintech companies are adopting personalized models to further strengthen their existence in far-fetched locations.

Mehul Dani: How is your firm enabling more women Jan Dhan account holders and for other government social welfare schemes to access and use financial services?

Praveen Dhabhai: Jan Dhan accounts have empowered women and strengthened them financially. It is important to spread awareness and encourage women to use their Jan Dhan accounts. We are spreading our network and focusing on empowering regional women to use tier their accounts at full potential. In order to accomplish this, we have partnered with several private and government banks for providing financial services like AEPS and DMT. Payworld has a wide retailer network which is helping us in enabling more Jan Dhan account holders.

Mehul Dani: What is the total customer base of your company? Which are the top 5 and bottom 5 states in terms of customers?

Praveen Dhabhai: We at Payworld have a mammoth retail network of 600,000 retailers spread across India, who are providing assisted financial transactions to the semi-urban and rural citizens of India. Last year during the pandemic and the financial year, we provided our services to approximately 36 million people via our strong retail network. As per our data, the top states are north and central India UP, Bihar, Punjab, Haryana, and Maharashtra however the penetration in North-East and Assam needs improvement.

Mehul Dani: What are the targets and plans for the current FY and beyond?

Praveen Dhabhai: We are growing exponentially in India and have a strong foothold in the rural areas with our huge retailer network. We are consistently putting in efforts in converting cash transactions into digital ones. With all these efforts, we are expecting that we will cross Rs100 billion in GTV (gross transaction value). And with this rapid growth, we are planning to reach Rs400 billion in GTV in the next 3 years. In terms of the offering, we have a plan to introduce innovative products like pre-paid cards, Fastag, and lending with innovation around basic products specific to rural segment though assisted model.

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