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ePaisa – a digital payment, merchants loyalty program, all rolled into one

Emmanuel Amberber
9th Dec 2014
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Ever heard of killing three birds with one stone? By bundling Ezetap, mSwipe like payment device with BillDesk type of utility payment, along with Payback.in’s loyalty program, ePaisa is attempting just that.

ePaisa was founded in 2012 with a core group of three people, including Siddharth Arora, Ramandeep Chadha & Akash Arora. Siddhart studied finance and management at University of London, while Akash did an entrepreneurship course at Harvard. They’ve been at the financial and technology space for 10 years. They also run an incubator called IdeaTree. One of the ideas they came up at the incubator was ePaisa. When it got traction, Siddharth got involved full time.

Mere POS as an application does not work in India. The requirement for the merchant is much deeper. ePaisa bundles all commerce and back-end office needs of a merchant into a single application. It’s an app for a seamless, smart, secure and on-the-go payment -- using a mobile phone or a tablet.


ePaisa

What does ePaisa do?

ePaisa is a mobile-based point of sale (POS) application which enables merchants to earn additional revenue through the resale of digital and physical gift coupons. The app also helps merchants across India to distribute digital gift cards/coupons from their ePaisa app. This app’s electronic transaction processing service will deliver digital gift cards/coupons to the customer instantly, either through an SMS or an email. Merchants can accept bill payments, recharges and do ticket bookings for their customers through the ePaisa mobile app.

ePaisa merchants will also be able to resell physical gift vouchers which will get delivered to customers at their postal address. These coupons can be used as effective alternatives to other conventional means of payment.

Speaking about this unique offering, Siddharth Arora, CEO & Co-founder, ePaisa said: “Innovation for the merchant is the ePaisa way. Commerce is going to be further redefined with this new service. This win-win app for merchants will ease their retailing worries and supply them with an additional revenue stream. One app with innumerable possibilities makes ePaisa undoubtedly the ultimate choice for merchants.”

Merchants can download and use it for free. After downloading, the second step is that merchants can start using the billing software. Retail shop owners can put in their products and take cash without talking to ePaisa. The UI is designed to be quite user friendly, which most of the payment applications lack today. Siddharth says, “There is no interaction between the merchant and us at first. The day he/she starts to accept card payment, they can activate POS by contacting us. We ship him/her a card-reader device. The merchant then starts accepting card payments. There is a bit of a learning curve for accepting cards if he/she hasn’t done it before. We’ve online videos, also 24/7 helpline which will walk them through it.”

The merchants define the rules of the loyalty program, and create a campaign around this loyalty program. They can use customers mobile number as an identity point. Since nobody wants to use physical loyalty cards anymore, tying the points with the mobile number makes sense.

Consumers can enroll to the loyalty program by giving their numbers to the merchant. They’ll receive a request to confirm. Once they confirm they’ll be eligible to earn points in the program.

What is ePaisa’s secret?

Trust! The trust issue is why Cash On Delivery (COD) is one of the most popular modes of payment for Indian online stores. Ernst & Young (E&Y) report indicates COD accounts for 50% - 80% of online transactions in India. When people buy online, let’s say a mobile phone, most are not comfortable giving out card details online. However, the same people generally feel safe swiping their cards in front of them. So instead of paying 20,000+ online they order cash on delivery. They may not have so much cash at that time thus a swipe machine makes it easy for them to transact. Siddharth says, “That is where I see the opportunity, a person feels comfortable to swipe it in front of himself than doing online transaction.” ePaisa taps in to the trust factor. This might not sound like a big secret, but it might just work out for ePaisa’s thesis validation.

He adds, “Ezetap & mSwipe do one part of the payment system. BillDesk does it from value added services angle. FreeCharge & PayBack are addressing loyalty and reward program. These are all companies doing parts of what we do with ePaisa.”

 

ePaisa’s road to the future is paved with ambition

This product aspires to be international with multilingual being built into it by default. “From day one when we build it, we made it multilingual to work with Indian languages and all international languages. We are talking with banks in other countries, where we’ll be launching it in partnership with them,” says Siddharth.

Going hyper local

Will we see ePaisa being used by Kiran stores? “…yeah, that is the whole point,” says Siddharth. It can be used by your delivery boy when he comes to deliver things that you bought online. Or a person who brings your morning news paper/milk as much as by big brick and mortar retailer.

ePaisa is run by three core people. They have 10 in-house sales people – they are hoping to grow 40, and at present are hiring for sales role.

One of the largest shopping centers in India is trying ePaisa to avoid long queue at the checkout counter. By enabling sales girls/boys at the aisle to conduct transaction, the shopper can walk out with emailed/sms receipt instead of waiting in line to pay. It works with credit cards, debit cards as well as cash transaction.

Will ePaisa expand to mobile wallet? “There are lots of wallets being operated in India right now. There will be a wallet consolidation in India in the next two years. I still see a huge opportunity in the card in the present scenario. Amazon and Flipkart work well because of the mode of cash on delivery. Hence, the opportunity exists on card-on-delivery,” says Siddharth.

Trust is what India needs the most. At the end of the day, customers need to transfer money though the application. They have to trust the application. It is easier to convince 150 merchants than hundreds of thousands customers. That is why ePaisa is focused in on-boarding merchants first.

YourStory asked Siddharth how difficult is it to acquire a merchant? “Distribution is not an issue anymore in India. I can get a product out to any merchant in 24 hour anywhere in India. We ship on-a-next-day delivery mode. We’ve seen Indian market for about 10 years, and we’ve built a network and a team. There are multiple approaches and I can’t disclose all my strategies. We are following multiple avenues to acquire customers through our banking partners and directly through our internal sales team. And there are other retail partners who’ve been in the business for long that help up in acquiring merchants.”

Today, ePaisa has announced 150 premium brands in e-commerce, fashion, hospitality, food, electronics, home décor, fitness, travel, and jewellery that signed up to use ePaisa.

“Everybody loves gifts. Elaborating on this sentiment, we offer over 150 brands in various categories across India. Some of the big names across industry segments include Dominos, Jabong, UCB, Vero Moda, Bata, Croma, Spice, Nike, Titan, Aldo, Wills Lifestyle, DKNY, Shoppers Stop, VLCC, ITC hotels, Cafe Coffee Day, D’Damasetc to name a few. We are excited about this new service. This solution is now live for ePaisaTM enabled merchants. It’s another way our merchants can earn more,” says Akash OP Aurora, Co-founder.

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