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Paytm enters Forex services, to offer money exchange for 20 international currencies

Tarush Bhalla
11th Jul 2018
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Indian internet major One97 Communications Limited, which owns Paytm, on Wednesday announced the launch of its Forex service, for money exchange of 20 top international currencies on its platform.

In a statement, the company said multi-currency Forex card and Forex cash can be ordered on a real-time basis, which will be delivered at the user's doorstep within 48 hours.

Vijay Shekhar Sharma, Founder and CEO, Paytm

It can also be collected from any of the nearest partner seller outlets across India. The service is currently live on Paytm’s website and will soon be launched on its Android and iOS apps.

This unique offering allows to lock-in the current rates at the time of placing an order by making a two-percent partial payment, with the flexibility to make the remaining payment at the time of delivery. Additionally, the customer will not be paying any commission, service charge or hidden charges on their purchases.

The Forex card balance can be checked online and in most ATMs abroad. It can be used at almost all merchant outlets and ATMs across the world. Customers can load up to $250,000 in a financial year into the Forex card and buy up to $3,000 as currency notes.

This new offering will also complement the requirements of frequent travelers, who can now buy Forex instantly along with their travel bookings

In the month of May, Paytm had stated that it has sold over 38 million tickets across its travel category, which included flight, train and bus tickets in FY18. However, it didn’t state what part of these were international bookings.

On the reasons for adopting this strategy, Abhishek Rajan, Vice President - Paytm, said,

We have been witnessing an unprecedented growth for international travel bookings on our platform. We learned that our customers usually are in a need of a trusted and seamless Forex service for themselves. We considered this as an important opportunity for us and are delighted to launch a convenient way of buying Forex on our platform. This is in line with our goal to be the most preferred destination for all travel needs.

Paytm has partnered with CentrumDirect, recently acquired by Ebix, for this offering.

T.C. Guruprasad, CEO and MD, CentrumDirect Ltd., said, “We are delighted to partner with a reputed player like Paytm. Currently, we serve over 1.5 million transactions annually and our alliance with Paytm will further strengthen our client base. Paytm users will be able to benefit from our competitive exchange rates, a wide range of currencies and a dedicated post-sales service team.”

When two big players meet 

In the last six months, US-based software and services company Ebix has been actively looking to build around this business of remittances.

Just last month, Ebix announced that it had completed the process of acquiring India-based foreign exchange service provider CentrumDirect Limited for $175 million. The acquisition brought thousands of travel agents, large companies, SMEs and new outlets to EbixCash’s Via.com travel exchange offering, allowing EbixCash’s travel outlets to sell Forex to its clients.

Entering the travel category in November last year, Ebix had stated that it had acquired online travel portal Via.com for $75 million. The acquisition was not just to enter the travel space but also to add another 100,000 retail outlets to EbixCash.

Before that, Ebix acquired the money remittance business of Transcorp International Limited, for approximately $7.4 million, through its Indian subsidiary EbixCash, in an all-cash deal. The company stated that Transcorp International was one of the top five largest international remittance players in India.

While right now Paytm is looking at just conversion of currencies and issuance of cards, it is clear that it has taken baby steps to enter cross-border remittances. In 2017, inward remittances to India grew to $69 billion, which continues to be a big opportunity for players like Paytm while competing with players like PayPal.

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