Sourabh Sharma

Mobile-only marketplace and digital wallet service Paytm is planning to go global by expanding into Singapore and other Southeast Asian markets, including Indonesia, Thailand and Malaysia. For this, The Delhi-NCR headquartered company has appointed online microlending & fundraising platform Milaap co-founder Sourabh Sharma as the Country Head of Paytm Singapore.

During the initial phase of operations in Singapore, Paytm plans to allow users to make bill payments and recharge the EZ-link smartcard the Singaporeans use to pay for public transportation like metros, trains, and buses. It is also likely to offer mobile recharge, seasonal parking payment, and more.

Sharma was responsible for fundraising (both debt & equity), investor relations, strategic partnerships and user acquisition at Milaap. Prior to that, he had founded the media sharing mobile app company MicroAppli, which he sold to OnMobile Global. He is a graduate of the National University of Singapore.

Paytm to apply for Payments Bank license

The company is also set to apply for a payments banking permit. Paytm VP of business Amit Lakhotia told The Economic Times that the company doesn’t have plans of partnering a bank for this as it would allow it to offer incentives like higher interest rates to customers.

RBI guidelines: Last month, the Reserve Bank of India released its final guidelines for the setting up of payments banks in the country. A payments bank will able to accept deposits and hold up to Rs 1 lakh per customer. It’ll also be able to issue ATM/debit cards, hand foreign remittances, distribute mutual funds, insurance & pension products, set up branches, ATMs & business correspondents. However, payments banks will not be allowed to lend money, accept NRI deposits, issue credit cards and set up a non-banking finance company (NBFC) subsidiary.

This is the natural move for Paytm since the finalizing of the payments banks guidelines is likely to be a precursor to the winding down of the Prepaid Payment Instruments license, which Paytm currently has. The Nachiket Mor Committee had also recommended in January this year that existing and new PPI issuer applicants should instead be required to apply for a Payments Bank licence or become Business Correspondents (BCs).