One of the world’s leading payments player Mastercard has inked an agreement with Axis Bank and French payments service provider Worldline to convert smartphones into point of sale (PoS) devices.
With this arrangement, they are looking to enable retailers and small merchants to accept digital payments through cards and other modes without a POS machine. They are aiming to expand that infrastructure for contactless card payments while replacing swipe machines across the country.
However, the feature will work only on smartphones which are NFC enabled. Retailers will be provided with a mobile application which will allow them to accept payments from debit or credit cards.
Besides accepting digital payments, the application will also offer retailers with subscription-based services such as digital onboarding and digital accounting services on a single interface.
Meanwhile, the application will also enable businesses with an option to offer digital services to customers. This functionality has been integrated into the application by Chennai-based SaaS major Zoho, according to a report by Economic Times.
With this offering, Mastercard has joined the likes of Amazon, Google, Paytm and JioMart which are also working on digitisation of retailers while ramping up their plans to get a chunk of the highly unorganised offline to online (O2O) retail market in India.
Rajeev Kumar, senior vice president of market development of South Asia at Mastercard, claims that it is the world’s first comprehensive soft-POS with end to end digital solutions. “Our aim is to expand the acceptance infrastructure from the current 7 Mn merchants to 10 Mn merchants in the next two years.”
The development has come a month after the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) gave a green signal for Visa, Mastercard and the National Corporation of India (NCPI) to allow tap-and-go functionality on card payments for all purchases at retail stores and shopping centres.
Customers can make a payment of INR 2,000 or less using the soft POS merchant. All they would have to do is simply tap cards at the back of the merchant’s smartphones. There’s no need for entering a PIN.
Kumar noted that nearly 85% of the card transactions are below INR 2,000. However, only 15% of all card transactions are being made using contactless modes, he added. “In the three months of Covid-19 lockdown we have seen a 2-percentage point jump in such transactions.”
Meanwhile, Axis Bank believes that the innovative solution can decrease the costs for banks. Sanjeev Moghe, EVP – head cards and payments, Axis Bank, said that it will decrease the CAPEX for banks deploying bulky swipe machines and remove monthly rental liabilities for merchants. He added that these were two of the biggest factors which slowed the growth of deployment of terminals in India.
The product is primarily targeted for merchants who have a monthly turnover between INR 10 Lakh and INR 40 Lakh. Moghe said that INR 20-30 Lakh turnover is the sweet spot for Axis Bank.
As far as the deployment of the product is concerned, Axis Bank is planning to deploy this application-based payments solution at around 1 Lakh additional merchants by the end of March 2021.