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‘ItzCash Is Moving Towards Financial Services Convergence’

Naveen Surya, chairman, Payments Council of India and managing director of ItzCash, shared his experience with BW Businessworld on converging payment solutions and future of wallets in India

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Naveen Surya, chairman, Payments Council of India and managing director of ItzCash, one of the oldest payment platforms in the country, shared his decade long experience with BW Businessworld on converging payment solutions and future of wallets in India.


How has been the journey so far in ten years?
Over the past 10 years, on the whole we have grown more than 12 times in terms of our payment volumes, and about 20 times in terms of our revenues.

We are the largest non-bank player in the country today with more than $2 billion worth of payments processed by our platform. Basis on RBI data last year, the Prepaid Payment (Wallet) industry was approximately Rs 40,000 crore or about $7 billion worth and we have a very healthy market share of about 30 per cent and we continue to grow our business with a healthy double digit growth.

What lessons have you learnt over the years?
We realised that in markets like India, pioneers like us, have to spend more money in developing the concept, educating about the concept and many such activities as the market is still evolving. With just 5 per cent of the payment s being undertaken digitally in the country, the market is huge and hence it is not just a 100 meter sprint but a long marathon run.

We have learnt that for a market like India multi product, multi form factor and omni-channel approach is what potentially creates scale and sustainability.

In our industry the opportunity is so large that one needs to be laser sharp and focussed without worrying or distracted by what the competitor or other players in market are doing.

What percentage of the Indian population ItzCash covers where banking is not easily accessible?
We service customers across all three segments of banked, under-banked and unbanked. Our strategy to acquire all these segments however is completely different.

We have been acquiring the banked customers through our corporate programs and solutions, Under-banked and unbanked consumers are those whom we acquire through our omni-channel approach both in digital and physical space i.e. on web/mobile in digital space and at retail outlets across the country with our physical network.

We believe the cost of acquiring customer should be least and the use of capital must be very effective.

Does this concept ‘JAM’ fits into ItzCash business?
It absolutely does, except that in our model we replace ‘J’ (Jhan Dhan) with ‘I’ (ItzCash) so it is I’AM, as it gives an identity to our consumers in the digital world. So it is ‘ItzCash-Aadhaar-Mobile’ and we provide this comprehensive combination in all our products as they are connected with Aadhaar system, ItzCash is also Aadhar Authentication User Agency (AUA) and KYC User Agency (KUA) with UIDIA.

What impact did the wallet payment casted over ItzCash and how have you dealt with it?
ItzCash has been the default wallet player and the first player to introduce multipurpose wallet to consumers. We have always been form factor agnostic and will continue to provide our consumers the options to use app, sms or just the mobile number password on web for any other transactions.

With increasing players the market is actually getting expanded and for last few years the role of education and market expansion is now shared by some new players which actually make us happier as we can now focus on leveraging this to grow our revenue and profitability rather than just creating scale which in our case is already achieved.

Our country with more than 90 per cent cash transaction there is plenty of room for many more players to enter and grow in double digits continuously for next 20 years.

How has your network of merchants and customers grown over in the last one decade?
Now we have products and solutions that are accepted at every merchant be it physical POS, or digital over website, in-app, IVRS or any other form, or ATMs across the country. Our merchant acceptance is at par with any other debit/credit card acceptance in India.

Similarly, we are present across the country not just with digital presence over web and mobile but across physical geography with each and every state and district headquarters across the country.

We have more than 75,000 high quality branded ItzCash World outlets across the country making us one of the largest and high quality retail network for financial and payment services in India.

We now serve over 40 million consumers on an annual basis. Of these every day we have 2,00,000 consumers doing a payment or remittance transactions across the country.

What were the benefits did IRCTC brought to you and your customers?

IRCTC has been a very valuable service to our consumers considering the problem that they solved for the railway passengers and we additionally supported them to take this to PAN India and to all consumers irrespective of whether they had an access to internet, debit/credit card or net-banking.

We continue to be the largest non-bank partner for IRCTC with approximately 12 per cent market share in travel services.

How has your revenue risen in the past and what would be your target for this year and coming period?

Our revenue and payments volume has gown about 60 per cent in FY 2015-16 over previous year. We continue to expect this growth for the next 3 years at least.

We have also achieved break even in the month of March’16 and basis the trend would achieve PAT profitability in FY 2016-17.

We are targeting to be the most profitable Wallet/PPI player in India over next 3years.

In which other genre are you planning to venture into?

We would expand to a larger bouquet of financial services like credit, insurance, and investment by launching innovative products and services in partnerships with some very credible and prestigious brands.

We are moving from driving ‘Payments Convergence’ to driving complete ‘Financial Services Convergence’ in the next 10 years to become the most valuable payments company in India.

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