In a bid to increase the currency of its digital money, leading payments and e-commerce company Paytm is planning to launch a virtual card in partnership with RuPay and a bunch of national banks. The virtual card, which will have a 16-digit number, just like a physical debit or credit card, will expand Paytm's reach significantly from 35,000 merchants currently using its digital wallet to 1.5 million merchants, who accept all kinds of electronic payments through plastic cards. Once rolled out, the virtual card is expected to increase the utility of money stored on Paytm digital wallets, since it will make it usable across a much wider network, said Vijay Shekhar Sharma, “We are building this so that our wallet gets ubiquitously accepted across places.” ALSO READ: Paytm to get 1 mn Chinese merchants on its marketplace
ALSO READ: Paytm eyes $3-4 bn gross merchandise value by fiscal-end However, the company might face some challenges as Rupay is not currently offered by each and every bank in India and users might find the procedure too complicated.
Once rolled out, a Paytm consumer will be able to see the 16-digit number in the application settings. The company is also exploring the option of issuing a physical card, which can be used at offline retail merchants. Since Paytm has also applied for a Payment Bank license with the Reserve Bank of India (RBI), it will be interesting to note how these new payment models pan out for the company. In a recent interview to Business Standard, Sharma had said, “Payment will be our primary play. We came into business to solve the payment issues of this country and I am confident we can solve those by using the mobile platform. RBI is expected to come out with the first list on August 1. If we get a licence, we can offer a bouquet of financial services.” At present, Paytm has a user base of 80 million and 30 million for its mobile wallet service. The number includes users accessing its services through computers. Sharma expects to see 50 million Paytm app downloads and a wallet user base of 200 million by the end of 2015-16. ALSO READ: Paytm launches new wallet app for iOS The company is backed by Chinese e-commerce giant Alibaba's financial arm Ant Financial. It is set to get close to one million merchants from China on its marketplace and add about 100 million stock-keeping units (SKUs) to its platform by July-August as part of the deal. It will also increase the number of Indian merchants from 40,000 at present to 100,000 by the end of this financial year.