Amazon Pay works with NPCI to further simplify the UPI experience
Vikas Bansal, Director of Amazon Pay India, shared his thoughts with Livemint on many aspects of the business and how he aims to drive it forward despite acceptance challenges. Edited excerpts:
What are the bottlenecks still plaguing the UPI ecosystem and how does Amazon Pay address these challenges?
UPI has been at the forefront of the digital payments revolution in India. Amazon Pay UPI has over 60 million registrations and last year over 75% of our customers using Amazon UPI came from Tier 2 and 3 cities. However, the transformation to digital payments is still ongoing, as around 70% of retail payments in India are made in cash. So we have a long track ahead of us. There are challenges such as lack of awareness and a large population of non-internet users, which impact the growth of the digital payments ecosystem. We try to address these issues through our awareness campaigns. We recently launched #AbHarDinHuaAasan, an integrated campaign that highlights convenience, security, and a wide range of use cases on Amazon Pay, available in the Amazon app. The campaign reached over 100 million customers and merchants through various mediums.
Preventing the misuse of UPI payments by fraudsters is one of our top priorities. We work closely with NPCI to strengthen the mechanism for early detection and prevention of suspicious UPI transactions in addition to conducting customer awareness campaigns on secure digital payment practices.
We are also working with the National Payments Corporation of India (NPCI) to further simplify the UPI experience.
How the funds infusion helps Amazon Pay scale its backend and onboard customers?
While we can’t divulge specifics, we can share the big buckets. First, we invest in building future-proof technology that supports a world-class payment platform. Our other goal is to expand our talent pool that solves some of the most critical problems in payments. Finally, but most importantly, we invest in raising awareness of digital payments to reach the masses to drive adoption.
The competition has partnered with IRCTC and other platforms. Where do you want to take Amazon Pay where much of society uses it for day-to-day needs other than top-ups?
We are already the preferred choice for millions of customers and merchants across the country. Additionally, we’ve followed an exciting growth trajectory and achieved significant milestones across the business.
We offer a wide range of use cases, including everyday payments such as top-ups and utility bills, money transfers, financial service payments, food orders, and more. We make travel bookings/payments more convenient in partnership with IRCTC, Delhi Metro/Bangalore Metro, MakeMyTrip, RedBus and more. Going forward, we will continue to build on our existing products and use cases and explore more ways to simplify payments for our customers. The intention is to allow our customers to use Amazon Pay as a one-stop-shop for all their payment needs.
The buy-now-pay-later concept is suitable for India. Do you feel any problem here while recovering the amount?
Access to formal credit in India has been a major obstacle for millions of customers. Today, Millennials, Millennials, and Generation Z are looking for easy access to credit to boost their shopping budget. The emergence of Buy Now Pay Later (BNPL) has filled this gap. Amazon Pay Later is one of our flagship credit products that allows our customers to better manage their monthly expenses. Our solutions are inspired by these insights, and as a result, we launched this product amidst the pandemic in April 2020, becoming one of the pioneers in the BNPL space. Amazon Pay Later offers a seamless payment experience with built-in security features and allows customers to buy now and pay next month at no additional cost or offering EMI options for up to 12 months. It is offered to customers in partnership with lending partners such as Capital Float and IDFC FIRST and offered to customers subject to their eligibility. Amazon Pay Later currently has close to 4MM sign-ups, which is a clear testament to customer adoption and trust.
We, along with our lending partners, have a customer lifecycle strategy. This strategy helps us assess customers at the time of credit line issuance but also throughout their life cycle. Thus, we have the ability to adapt to any unfortunate event. Refunds at Amazon Pay Later have been satisfactory so far.
What’s new with Amazon Pay for its merchants?
MSMEs form the backbone of the Indian economy. Amazon Pay offers the ability to accept digital payments and earn credits, strengthening a merchant’s digital footprint and growing their business, enabling them to become part of the formal economy. Currently, we have over 8 million merchants on board as Amazon Pay merchants in over 350 cities and towns.
Amazon Pay also has the “Amazon Pay For Business” mobile app to help simplify the merchant journey to accepting digital payments. Available on Android, the app can be used by small and medium businesses across the country to register, generate a unique QR code and start accepting digital payments in minutes. Customers can use any UPI app to scan Amazon’s QR code and make payments to these businesses. Other than that, we give credit to sellers on Amazon. For sellers, we have created a marketplace of more than 8 lenders (Banks (ICICI), NBFC (LendingKart, Indifi, Incred) and Fintech partners) allowing sellers to benefit from unsecured credit in a transparent way and at rates lower than those of the industry.
We’re also excited about the success of Smart Stores that allow customers to experience products in a merchant’s offline store directly through the Amazon app, view EMI rewards and offers, and make contactless payments. safely.
When will voice-enabled payments debut on Amazon Pay in India?
Customers in India can pay their utility bills with Amazon Pay just by talking to Alexa. This Alexa feature supports bill payment in categories such as Electricity, Water, Mobile Postpaid, Cooking Gas, Broadband, DTH and more. Users of Amazon Echo, Fire TV Stick, and other devices with Alexa built-in can simply say commands such as “Alexa, pay my mobile bill” or “Alexa, pay my electric bill” to get started.
For existing Amazon Pay users, Alexa will retrieve the amount due for invoices from their registered Amazon account and ask for customer confirmation before processing payment.
Customers can activate a voice pin on the Alexa app to make transactions more secure. Once approved, Alexa will complete the transaction using Amazon Pay and send a notification to the customer’s registered mobile number, confirming the transaction.
For new Amazon Pay customers, Alexa will send a link to save their bill details to the Amazon Shopping app before proceeding with bill payment. In addition to making payments, customers can ask “Alexa, what’s my balance?” to see the amount available for purchases in their Amazon Pay wallet. To top up the Amazon Pay account, say “Alexa, add ₹500 to my Amazon Pay balance” and Alexa will send a link to the registered mobile phone to complete the transaction.
Additionally, we launched a voice notification feature for the “Amazon Pay for Business” app, as well as in English and Hindi. Small businesses across India can enjoy a hassle-free experience by eliminating extra minutes spent during peak hours waiting for notification of payments received through this feature.
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