Paytm’s Android app now supports 10 Indian languages: Hindi, Tamil, Telugu, Gujarati, Marathi, Bengali, Kannada, Malayalam, Oriya and Punjabi. The other mobile payments app that we know supports Indian languages is PhonePe, which supports Hindi and Tamil, apart from English.
However, it isn’t perfect: for example, on picking a mobile phone recharge or electricity bill payment option, while most of the text is in the translated language, operator names and electricity board names continue to be displayed in English. Similarly, descriptions & specifications of products in ecommerce, and certain elements on the homepage are currently in English. We expect translations will improve with time.
Find a vendor, VIP membership
This isn’t the only update to the Paytm App though: It now has ‘NearBy’ feature that lets users find places that accept payment via Paytm. This feature displays locations that use Paytm QR codes to accept payments, places that load money in Paytm wallets, as well as locations that allow users to upgrade to VIP members. The locations are listed by its distance to the user, with an icon on the left signifying type of service – medical, garage, shopping place etc. The list is useful in light of the currency shortage, enabling users to find locations accepting digital payments.
However, we feel it would be more useful to display locations as overlay on a map, rather than making a list. Interestingly, MobiKwik had launched such a feature in March this year, with a proper map overlay.
Paytm has also introduced VIP membership, essentially for KYC enabled accounts. These accounts receive cashback on purchases for a certain period of time and offer special offers, other than increasing the account transaction limit.
Opportune and opportunistic
Language support is particularly important, given the demonetization drive in India, which presents payments businesses with an opportunity to sign up merchants and customers: given that a majority of India’s population doesn’t speak English, this launch is opportune and timely.
Worth noting that while Paytm did try and ride the wave to begin with, it got a lot of heat for perceived opportunism, especially following an advertisement in a newspaper featuring Prime Minister Modi, and an advertisment which was criticised (possibly for being paternalistic), and eventually pulled.