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PayPal enters India’s $215 B education market via online platforms

Among the verticals that PayPal has specialised in globally is education, a market worth $215 billion in India.

Athira Nair
11th Mar 2019
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One of the world’s largest online payment companies, PayPal, is now integrating its services with Indian online education platforms. The US-based company has been active in India since 2008 in the cross-border payments business. In 2017, PayPal launched its domestic operations in India. In April last year, PayPal went live for consumers of (domestic) online retail in India. Today PayPal works closely with companies like MakeMyTrip, Freshmenu, etc.


Among the verticals that PayPal has specialised in globally is education, a market worth $215 billion in India.


According to PayPal’s statistics, for 218 million students India has only two million teachers; a ratio of 140:1. More than two million students are already paying online for education, and this is expected to reach 10 million by 2021.


Currently, a large number of parents who lead busy lives, find it difficult to keep up with the simplest of tasks such as paying school fees – just because the options to make these payments are few. Schools are now open to bank transfers, but there is scope to further simplify the experience of the parent. This is where PayPal makes its entry.


Increasing reach of ed-tech platforms


Government initiatives like Digital India and SWAYAM have been trying to enable online education by offering courses free of cost for children as well as adults. There is increased awareness since many (private) players are entering the space, following different models.


For instance, startups like UpGrad, Edureka, and Unacademy, focus on online test preparation. Simplilearn, Udacity, and GreatLearning aim to upskill professionals. Startup unicorn BJYU’s, as well as Vedantu and Toppr, target students from 5th-12th grades. Needless to say, these platforms offer a huge clientele for PayPal, which is already present on some of them.


Narsi Subramaniam, Director, Growth, Paypal India.

The average ticket size for transactions on PayPal in the Indian education sector is $20-50. The KYC process on Paypal is done on the website itself (with no physical visits) and is approved in 24 hours provided it meets requirements.


In a chat with YourStory, Narsi Subramaniam, Director, Growth, PayPal India, said that PayPal is generally agnostic to business models.


“We are just enabling payment. We partner with them for solving problems like multiple parties (like parents/students, tutors, schools etc.) being involved in using their website/app for payments, invoicing their payment options, and making the commission process (from the online platform) easier,” he added. 


Enabling multiple platforms


The entry into ed-tech industry was only a matter of time for PayPal, as there is growing acceptance of technology in simplifying the overall experience of education.


Narsi claims that users of online certificates and test preparation using PayPal have already grown on its existing platforms.


PayPal claims to take care of the end-to-end payment management. It is now focusing on the following:

1.    Primary and secondary schools, since CBSE is encouraging schools to go cashless

2.    Online platforms assisting in preparation for tests like GME, GRE, CAT etc.

3.    Reskilling courses for working professionals (already contributes to 40 percent of overall volume on transactions enabled by PayPal)

4.    Higher education (both online and offline platforms)

5.    Casual learning for music, dance, yoga


Narsi added that PayPal has enabled invoicing capabilities for small institutions as well, so that they can send the relevant link to parents and minimise the process. He asserted that this is a great opportunity for tutors who are now onboarding online platforms, as the quantity and quality of online players is increasing. “Online tutorials can go global easily. Four out of ten online math tutors are from India,” he pointed out. 


Since PayPal enjoys familiarity among its target audience, thanks to the brand value, the move into education sector could be a win-win situation for both parties.



Also read: Meet edtech startups that are taking quality education to non-metro cities across India





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