M-Pesa Pay, Vodafone's new trump card for cashless transactions
With an eye on the spurt in cashless transactions following the Government's demonetisation move, Vodafone, India's third largest telco, today launched a special feature on its mobile wallet to enable merchants for receive payments.
The company's managing director and chief executive in India, Sunil Sood, told reporters,
"M-Pesa Pay is a new feature that we're adding onto M-Pesa to enable ease of transactions between merchants and customers. M-Pesa Pay is really a merchant's product."
He said that the feature works like a substitute for the capital-intensive point of sale (PoS) machine, and merchants will have to download the application once, which can help them carry out cashless transactions with customers swiftly.
Vodafone's mobile wallet M-Pesa has been in existence for many years now, and is also one of the 11 entities chosen by RBI to launch a Payments Bank. Sood said that it has 8.5 million customers, who carried out transactions worth Rs 860 crore for the quarter ended September 2016. The Government's surprise move to scrap high denomination currency on November 8 has led to an increase in the alternative cashless transactions using the digital channel.
Mobile wallets like Freecharge and PayTM, M-Pesa's competititors, have increased their marketing activities following the move. Sood today reiterated that the company is confident of launching its Payments Bank before the March 2017 deadline, set while being granted the in-principle nod in August 2015.
The chief of the company, which is preparing for an IPO, said that the new feature offers cash out, courtesy tie-ups with commercial banks, but once it's own Payments Bank becomes operational, it will work alongside that. Using the feature, a merchant can 'pull' money into his wallet by sending a demand to the customer who owes her the money, the company said, adding that it can also work on feature phones using the USSD (Unstructured Supplementary Service Data) technology.
M-Pesa has already been working with ten state governments for direct benefit transfers, enabling cash collections at 450 locations, and partnered with microlenders for loan disbursals and EMI collections.