India’s largest bank State Bank of India has launched a new payments solution targeting merchants called SBIePay, reports The Economic Times. Currently it offers real-time credit card, debit card, net banking and mobile payment transaction validation processes, with plans to roll out Electronic Bill Presentment and Payment platform (EBPP) and IVRS for making payment over phones.
It’s not clear how much the company is charging for the service as of now, but it lists other banks such as State Bank of Bikaner and Jaipur, State Bank of Hyderabad, State Bank of Mysore, State Bank of Patiala, State Bank of Travancore, United Bank of India and ING Vysya Bank, as partners. The website currently lets you register as a merchant, but customer login has not been enabled yet.
The e-payment space in India has independent companies, but the lion’s share of the space is held by large private banks like HDFC, Citibank and ICICI. SBI’s entry into payment gateway business comes at a time when existing players are adding features such as wallets, marketplaces, logistics and marketing support on top of the payments services. Earlier this year, payments company CCAvenue had morphed into an e-commerce suite, while PayU India, which recently became independent of the Ibibo Group launched a semi-closed wallet service. E-commerce players such as Flipkart and Snapdeal have also entered the payments game.
This has been happening because most of the players in the payment gateway businesses were undercutting each other and it was no longer feasible to just be a stand alone payment solution provider. That being the case, it needs to be seen what extra services SBI brings to the table. While, there is a need for a player who does not have a vested interest in the e-commerce space, it’s not clear if the bank will be able to offer as good a user experience as that offered by private companies. It’s also not clear how the entry of a major bank affects other companies in the online payments ecosystem in India.
Update: An earlier version of this story incorrectly mentioned CCAvenue as an advertiser with MediaNama. They aren’t currently advertising with us. Our apologies for the error.