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#Outlook14: What Indian Digital Payments Companies Plan To Do

As a part of our #Outlook14 series, we asked heads of three digital payment companies – CC Avenues*, Zaakpay and CitrusPay about their focus areas for 2014, and the challenges that the digital payments ecosystem needs to address.

MediaNama: What were the key developments for your company in 2013?

Vishwas Patel, CCAvenue

– Launched the free ‘Economy’ scheme aimed at encouraging online Start-ups and entrepreneurs to get a payment processing facility for no set-up cost.
– Our new merchant sign-ups have increased 3 fold due to this path-breaking offer

Jitendra Gupta, CitrusPay

– Revenue grew by almost 7 times
– Launched products such as Mobile checkout and Analytics service to differentiate itself in the market.

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Upasana Taku, Zaakpay

– Starting with just 5 customers in April 2012, Zaakpay currently has 500 clients.
– Launched second product Mpay, a complete payment solution for Mobile First businesses in India, in April 2013.  It has processed mobile payments worth 70 crores since launch. Included features such as collecting card data on merchant website, email invoicing, international multi-currency payments and recurring billing payments.

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MediaNama: What do you intend to focus on, in 2014? Why?

Vishwas Patel, CCAvenue

– Focus areas for 2014 will be Growth- based on the principles of ‘Continuity’ and ‘Innovation’.
– Vertical customization: More and more industry verticals have ventured into the e-commerce platform, it is imperative that the payment gateway provider not only offers the core capabilities of payment processing but also offers businesses customized business enhancing solutions to suit their specific needs. For example the “Travel” segment would have clearly distinct requirements than what a Retail business would require.
– Mobile: On the other hand, young and tech-savvy customers would want to transact on other platforms like the mobile, tablets, etc and they would expect responsive design website to be offered by the PG providers.
– Technology front: Continuously looking at improving our service levels, by offering Live Monitoring Pro, monitoring the server of banks to alert merchant on the scheduled/ unscheduled downtime so that transactions may be salvaged leading to higher success rates. Going forward we will be focusing on all parameters that increase PG efficiency for more successful transactions.

Jitendra Gupta, CitrusPay

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Mobile payment experience is the key for us. We are seeing a very healthy trend on this side. Merchants are moving to apps and WAP site for selling. Similarly, consumers are increasingly using smartphones for shopping experience. We have seen people buying from mobile devices up to 12% of our total traffic. This was just 2% at start of the year.

Upasana Taku, Zaakpay

– We are working towards making Mobile Commerce a reality in India.

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MediaNama: What is the likely direction in which the payments segment is headed in the coming year?

Vishwas Patel, CCAvenue

– With growth in online business, online payments would definitely increase. In fact, under the umbrella of NPCI, Indian banks are also promoting online payments and have enabled CCAvenue as one of the first payment processors to accept payments through RuPay Debit cards. People are more comfortable using their phones for various activities, as it gives them a sense of privacy and security, while offering easy usability. Since already there are way more mobiles in India than computers, mCommerce could gradually grow as big as e-commerce.

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Jitendra Gupta, CitrusPay: Lot of wallets will be introduced in the market in 2014. It is yet to be seen what consumer finally adopts. Citrus is already seeing a great adoption in merchants and customers. Wallet-based transactions will improve the experience of mobile payments as consumers will not go through the pain of repeated data entry on small screens. Further, it also provides trust factor and uniform experience while transacting on different form factors i.e. Web and mobile.

Upasana Taku, Zaakpay: In 2014 it is essential to focus on improving the user experience or the merchant experience or the payment technology. Despite the mushrooming growth of e-commerce transactions in the country, sluggish payment gateways have been one of the biggest deterrents. Until 2012, besides banks there just 2-3 third-party payment companies ruling this segment. Almost all of them had either high sign-up costs, or long-ass sign-up processes or inferior technology, or all.

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MediaNama: What are some of the challenges in the payments segment that would need to be addressed in 2014?

Vishwas Patel, CCAvenue: Primary challenge we face is the penetration of internet and technology in India as it is as less as 11.4% of the country’s total population! Also, how can we expect comparable growth in e-commerce when we have not more than 30,000 merchants across India? Well, in the US a single payment gateway Authorize.net powers more than 2.1 million merchants. How many of our big brands are online today… very few. Except for travel and hospitality, all the others industry segments have a long way to go in the online space. There are over 125 million SMEs in India, but only 30,000 e-commerce merchants. We need more buyers!
To overcome this scenario, we are coming up with a 360 degree solution, which would enable anyone and everyone to sell online and we are offering it for free.

Jitendra Gupta, CitrusPay: User experience is the key area to be addressed.  We still see payment pages which are not at all adaptive to merchant’s website design and are not optimised for mobile. Consumers are used to great user experience now from global apps and products. Indian consumers now expect the same standards from Indian companies as well. So, the key will be to focus on consumer experience in payments.

Upasana Taku, Zaakpay: Some challenges in 2014 would be:

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– There are just a handful of acquiring banks in India who control pricing and merchant approvals. Needless to say, the approval time per website is in weeks, forget about being instantaneous.

– Regulations make two-factor authentication mandatory for all digital transactions, but this reduces the success rate and significantly hurts user experience.

– Then we have netbanking, which is an Indian payment option. So we have millions of users using payment flows defined by the 52 banks which offer the netbanking option. Each bank has its unique flow. For a user, there is no consistent payment user experience.

– Electronic Commerce and Mobile Commerce are emerging areas in India. Whether it is an existing brand venturing into e-commerce or a new upstart, most merchants have little idea on what to look for when choosing a payment gateway. The worst part is that little information is available on the internet and whatever is available is quite confusing. We get all kinds of enquiries from merchants and we try our best to answer them, without caring about whether they sign up with Zaakpay eventually or not.

Note: Answers have been edited for brevity

Disclosure: CC Avenue is an advertiser with MediaNama

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MediaNama’s mission is to help build a digital ecosystem which is open, fair, global and competitive.

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