On Wednesday, payments behemoth PayPal said that it had digitised the FIRC application process.
FIRC is a document that acts as a testimonial for all the inward remittances entering India. Most of the statutory authorities accept this document as proof that an individual or a business, such as a limited company, partnership firm, sole proprietorship firm and others, has received a payment in foreign currency from outside the country.
With the new process, PayPal sellers receiving payments from across the globe can apply for a FIRC online by filling a form on the PayPal website and paying the FIRC fee via NEFT as opposed to the previous process of a Demand Draft (DD), reducing tedious paperwork.
Previously, Indian sellers and freelancers had to visit the beneficiary bank branch to request a FIRC, get a demand draft for the FIRC Fee and then apply for a FIRC to Citibank. Now, with the online process, sellers can simply fill an application form on the PayPal website and pay the FIRC fee by NEFT. PayPal will directly share the details with Citibank for the FIRC. The certificate can be directly collected by the sellers and freelancers from their beneficiary banks.
Speaking on the development, Narsi Subramanian, Director, Growth, PayPal India said,
“A key objective at PayPal is to let sellers and freelancers focus on providing services while we simplify the payment process for them in the background. Indian online sellers and freelancers are expected to contribute as much as 40 percent towards future revenue generation and economic growth. We see immense potential in the India SMEs, freelancers and merchants, and aim to streamline the payment process for them as they chase their aspirations.”
Last year, PayPal announced a 50 percent reduction in the FIRC fee and rolled out a process for a consolidated FIRC, the earlier process required one FIRC for each transaction.
When asked about the Indian domestic remittance opportunity, Narsi added,
“We believe that there is an opportunity locally as well, however, we believe that the global opportunity is much bigger. Considering freelancers also earn in dollars. Domestically, we have been in India just as a business and are very excited about the opportunity. .”
When asked whether PayPal is looking to partner with a UPI (Unified Payments Interface) for its domestic remittance solution, Narsi said that the company is assessing all options on the table.
Just last November, the company claimed to have launched domestic payments in India. This allowed merchants accepting payments via PayPal to be able to process both local and global payments while getting access to PayPal’s 227 million customers around the world and in India through a single integration. The payment major claimed to have an active network of close to 200 markets across the world.
PayPal pegs the freelance network market at $10 billion. This week even Paytm launched its own app and put the focus on 'money transfers' domestically, trying to be part of the freelance pie, among other opportunities.
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