Customer is king: Cashfree Payments’s Arun Tikoo on reimagining the payments process in India
What is the story behind setting up Cashfree Payments? What sets it apart from other fintech platforms, and what goals does the company have for the future? Arun Tikoo of Cashfree Payments shares his thoughts.
Businesses always look to scale operations and increase outputs in the most efficient ways, which could include adopting newer tech or optimising resources with their funds. With the constant innovation in the fintech space, business owners can now take a load off their backs by ensuring cash flow occurs in a manner that can be monitored and automated to an extent.
Here’s wherecomes in - a payment and banking infrastructure that aids enterprises to fulfil all their business needs and scale smoothly. With more than 3 lakh merchants using the platform, Cashfree Payments processes over USD 40 billion annually and serves over 200 million bank accounts today with its various product offerings, including a payment collection gateway, a recurring payment option, and a payout system.
Setting up Cashfree Payments
“We reimagined how the payment business in India should be built,” said Arun Tikoo, Senior Vice President of Business and Strategy at Cashfree Payments, talking about the journey of setting up the payments platform. He noted that the company was the first one to build stacks on payouts when most other fintech companies focused on payment collection.
Their approach, he said, was to understand customer pain points and build fundamental payment blocks that catered to their needs, which included multiple payments, receivables, and refund processing.
“The idea was - how do we help the customer to digitise not only their collections but also their payments, without pain points [or] issues,” said Arun. He added that the company has focused on increasing market shares, identifying problem statements, and launching new platforms for its customers.
Registering on Cashfree Payments Payments
Established in 2015, Cashfree Payments offers both inbound and outbound services to customers. They can register on the website directly and submit the required documents. Companies approach them by word-of-mouth and marketing events based on their needs and act as leads for other companies.
Cashfree Payments also has an outbound team that approaches customers based on identified challenges in some sectors or companies.
What makes Cashfree Payments different from other payment platforms? “We imagine keeping the customer as the focus point. What do they want from their service provider?” Arun opined, citing the example of serving the needs of an e-commerce company they worked with by building their consolidated payouts system to enable instant refunds.
Cashfree Payments also offers subscription plans and auto-charge future payments, instant settlement service, Cashgram, interoperability across different payment gateways, bank account verification system, and more such customer-centric services. Arun believes their company remains number one because all their robust product offerings are on one platform, unlike any other payment platform.
“Once [the customers] have Cashfree Payments, they don’t need to go and integrate with any other fintech,” said Arun, adding that the company sought to amalgamate all the financial services in one platform to make it easier for customers.
“We wanted to create a brand or a solution which fulfils all the requirements of the customer’s needs,” he said, adding that their unique, scalable, all-in-one solution and resilient system support and backup teams are the reasons why any customer should choose Cashfree Payments.
Technology for security and scalability
“Technology has always been at the forefront of any fintech,” said Arun, adding that as a company’s data collection and storage needs increase, shifting to a multi/hybrid cloud for better security is the optimal solution.
In September, Cashfree Payments received the PA (payment aggregator) licence from RBI, which meant they had to ensure greater security of transactions and the platform. “We do our audits very regularly and diligently,” he said, adding that the company had recently received the ISO 27017 and 27018 certification, demonstrating its fulfilment of the information technology security techniques and code of practice for cloud security. Cashfree Payments is also a PCI DSS version 3.2 1 certified company, which means it adheres to regulations laid down by the Payments Council of India regarding maintaining security in credit card transactions.
The biggest challenge, Arun said, is to get the right manpower and the right engineers to the company from the mix of several fintech companies emerging today, especially to build new products and processes.
How is Cashfree Payments tackling this challenge? “We have been getting our young employees directly from colleges, identifying talent there and training them… we have created a process in which new talent can be on boarded from colleges,” he said.
Milestones for the future
Arun noted that the focus was on growing globally as well, especially in the Middle East and the Southeast Asian region, because they have similar markets as India.
“We see a lot of opportunity in BaaS (banking as a software) products,” he said, adding that he believes their products will solve traditional bottlenecks presented in banking, such as account openings using their API software. Another goal the company has for next year is to strengthen its cross-border payment infrastructure.
Rapid digitisation in the country also presents exciting opportunities for the fintech space to grow beyond metropolitan cities. Arun believes that in the next few years, there will be a greater requirement for digital products in tier III and IV cities supported by government initiatives. Noting that most digital innovation reaches only 10-20 percent of the population, he said that it has to permeate to larger sections of the population.
“I see a great future in the days to come, and because we are associated with this digitisation process, I’m sure the ecosystem will benefit,” said Arun.
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