Zeta, the Bhavin Turakhia-backed employee benefits service, has partnered with card network RuPay to issue a pre-paid card called Zeta Super Card for employees. When Zeta launched it had a mobile app  and also issued a card from MasterCard where corporate employees could purchase food and non-alcoholic beverages from retail outlets. With this, employees can pay with the pre-paid card at over 12 lakh (to be specific: 12,20,763) RuPay enabled POS terminals.

The company says it will be extending its partnership with the National Payments Corporation of India (NPCI) to launch payments via UPI, Bharat QR Code, and Aadhaar Pay. Additionally, it will now be working with public sector companies, and said that the new payment methods are crucial for adoption with PSU employees.

“When it comes to digitizing employee benefits, it is essential to consider every employee in the organisation and provide solutions that work for everyone. Several of the PSUs have employees in locations that have limited card network reach…. The Zeta benefits platform is on RuPay uses Aadhaar for eKYC and authentication, supports regional languages and is UPI, Bharat QR Code and Aadhaar pay ready. We will start rolling out these options as we start working with PSUs across the country,” chief technology officer Ramki Gaddipati said in a press statement.

Zeta now has a client base of over 650 corporates spread across India and claims over 100,000 end users.

Tax compliance? 

Zeta’s partnership with RuPay is interesting. Its rival in the meal voucher space, Sodexo, has opted not to partner with any card networks and issue a separate POS terminal to all merchants on its network. Suvodeep Das, vice president of marketing for Sodexo India, told MediaNama recently that this was done to maintain tax compliance and ensure that only payments for food and non-alcoholic beverages can happen on their meal cards. He added that it would become an effort for the company to separate out bill items during checkout if they partnered with card networks (a more detailed interview with Suvodeep Das will be published later this week on MediaNama).

Meanwhile, Zeta says that it declines a transaction in the back end if there is a bill item which has alcoholic beverages or drinks. It added that it classifies POS machines into different categories as well.

“Our system identifies merchant POS machines and terminals via (Merchant Identification Number), TID (Terminal Identification Number) and Acquirer ID. Through these means, we are able to ensure that Optima Meal Vouchers can be spent only at pre-established outlets, making all purchases 100% compliant. Further, we have also curated over 1 lakh card reading terminals via our merchant acquiring team,” a Zeta spokesperson explained in an email.

Meal vouchers cannot be in paper form

Recently, the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) issued draft guidelines to move away from issuing paper-based meal vouchers.  It added companies presently issuing meal vouchers under B2B arrangements in paper voucher form will to issue wallets in electronic form, including cards.

Corrigendum: Zeta clarified that it had partnered to with MasterCard to issue a pre-paid card when it launched. This has been reflected in the copy now.