Boom Time Ahead For Online Payment Industry

by Saumya Soman    May 13, 2016


From mobile top-ups to utility bill payments and money transfer, online payment is one of the most preferred mode of transaction among consumers as well as retailers. CyberPlat, one of India’s leading integrated electronic payment processing and distribution company for financial institutions, service providers and retailers. As an industry first, CyberPlat uses 512 bit electronic digital signatures (EDS) to process each and every transaction, thereby, ensuring the security of transaction. 

CyberPlat’s network currently services over 300 partners and reaches out to over 500,000 touch points in the B2B and B2C space covering retail networks, online websites, mobile based businesses, self-service kiosks, POS-terminals, cash desks, amongst others, both in rural and urban India. CyberPlat offers solutions that can be deployed in any technology environment and in any market, says Alok Jha, Managing Director of CyberPlat India. In an exclusive interaction with CXO Today, Jha talks about the Indian financial market and the future of online payment industry. 

After establishing a foothold in Germany and CIS countries, Cyberplat arrived in India in the year 2009. How conducive was the Indian financial market at that time and what were the roadblocks in breaking into the Indian market?   

When we were setting up in India, the Indian payment industry was at its infancy but the exponential growth of the digital space was reassuring and looked promising. However, we did face stiff competition from established players in the industry and dealing with them was a herculean task. Our competitors were driving the B2B market with devices and portals and our challenge was to permeate the market and our products and services were all functional and relevant to the Indian market requirements and our APIs were strong to win business. 

How did Cyberplat influence the conventional online payment industry in the country?

CyberPlat, like its parent company in Russia, decided to bridge the gap between the service providers and channel partners from sales and collection. When CyberPlat was launched, we started aggregating digital products like mobile top-ups, DTH top-ups etc. to meet the requirements of the industry. This enabled the companies, wanting to start business in this industry, to avail the services of all the providers from the mobile and DTH category on one platform. The multi-function platform of CyberPlat has helped partners and new entrants enable them to concentrate on other verticals of their businesses like marketing, distribution and expansion and not worry about financial services.

How would you view the country’s current banking norms and fiscal policies in shaping a cashless economy and the impact on e-payment business?

India has moved a step closer towards becoming a cashless economy with the launch of Unified Payment Interface (UPI). UPI, which is expected to make e-commerce transactions easier, will also facilitate micro-payments and person-to-person payments. Digital payments will be “instrumental in reducing tax avoidance,” as the government itself migrates payments and collections to cashless mode, the shift towards the cashless economy is bound to accelerate.

With over 250 million internet users in India, the e-payment industry is deemed to grow further and the user base is also expected to double in the next few years. Small business establishments and start-ups are all looking for small scale but quicker loans for rapid growths and digital payments would be the answer to their woes. 

Cyberplat has been making inroads into the rural Indian market as well. What were market trends that you observed? Are people warming up to trust online transactions?

Yes, rural penetration is an important segment for CyberPlat and we work with a large number of partners in the e-governance space as well as companies that are focused on creating an offline to online convergence model for the customers. With large penetration and proliferation of TV channels, rural and semi urban population are aware and are looking for products similar to the ones available in metros to be delivered to them. E-Commerce companies are also driving a great deal of this change. 

Trust is a factor of sustained experience over a period of time. Online transactions are driven by evolved customers and, for fence sitters and evolving customers, assisted commerce is being pushed across rural, semi urban and urban places. We are in the phase where online transactions are considered safe as compared to the times when people were hesitant to make e-payments. With better security features, data protection and fraud prevention tools being available, online transactions have seamlessly entered into every household and have become the preferred mode of payment, giving the end user a great user experience and better business outcomes. And tier-2 cities are also adopting the e-payment approach well. As a nation, we have started trusting the internet and multiple payment gateways for our money matters.  

With the steady and gradual shift from e-commerce to m-commerce what does it imply for the online payment industry?

As per a recent survey, Indian smartphone users on an average spend 169 minutes per day on their devices, with this user base growing at a 26 per cent CAGR from 2013 to 2017. Research shows that by 2017 about 80 per cent Indians will use smartphones to access the internet, which in turn will increase digital commerce substantially. Reports like these only indicate that online payment industry will gain more momentum in the coming times and m-commerce will be the industry to watch out for. 

From a service partner and a channel partner perspective how does Cyberplat influence their business?

CyberPlat is India’s fastest growing service gateway platform offering a multi category distribution network to its partners. We offer secure and reliable services ensuring high uptimes, 512-bit electronic digital signature encryption, disaster management services along with technology that can work on every platform, with any partner. Apart from these, we also offer self-service kiosks, POS terminals, cash desks, online and mobile solutions that can be deployed in any technology and market. We have over 300 partners in the B2B as well as B2C space including retail, mobile apps and e-commerce portals. Also, we help new partners with a single platform for various digital payment products, enabling their businesses to function faster. 

What are the expansion plans for Cyberplat in India? 

CyberPlat is growing at 100 per cent y-on-y and is soon coming up with an office in New Delhi. We will also be introducing new innovative products and services this year. We shall also keep adding new partners in the multi-category businesses to increase our footprints.

How has India evolved to emerge as a leading market in the e-payment industry? How well equipped is the Indian market compared to the rest of the world?

Rising number of internet users engaging in more online transactions, businesses opting e-services, financial services offering easy online solutions for higher valued transactions, only indicates towards the growth of India’s e-commerce and payments industry. There has been a dynamic shift in the growth chart of the payment industry especially with new business models being invented, consumer friendly apps being developed and the ‘cashless’ India initiative coming into the forefront. Features like IMPS, UPI, e-KYC are all designed to make the payment space grow bigger and better and the world is keeping a track of India’s growth. We, as a nation, are definitely growing rapidly but our internet connectivity also needs to grow. Maximum internet traffic comes from the metros and top tier 2 cities but, unless we make the country internet enabled, we cannot become a cashless nation.