With the advent of new-age digitally viable technology, conventional banking has been undergoing a tremendous change. The integration of traditional financial services with the digital technology has created a platform which can expand across segments and provide seamless access to financial services for all consumers.
Despite such advancement, there is still a huge untapped market waiting to be included in the mainstream, both digitally and financially.
For most Indians living in this segment, digital transactions are challenging. The population is largely uneducated or are unaware of existence of digital facilities which can bring ease to their lives. Banks and other financial institutions continue to follow traditional methods of distribution and prefer large ticket avenues. The straitjacket approach on documentation and credit meant that unorganized segment never fitted the banker's requirements.
With such a huge potential to be tapped, fintech companies like Payworld stepped up and emerged as pioneers by going beyond the basics, to provide financial services to over 70% of India's population living in the semi-urban and rural areas. Right from ensuring awareness about financial services to training them on the usage and benefits, Payworld took a full-fledged approach towards providing complete access to financial services for the population living in the lower strata.
"Our major focus has been on the untapped population living in the semi-urban and the rural areas. We wanted to focus on people, who don't have the bandwidth and knowledge to use a debit card/internet banking to fill money in his wallet and then do a transaction. We are targeting people who are otherwise difficult to reach out to. Banks continue to follow traditional methods of distribution and found the delivery daunting. So, they prefer easy large-ticket lending. The inclusion of the last man in the pyramid - that vegetable vendor or the village tailor or the cycle repair mechanic - never happened. We aimed to reach the commoners," said COO Payworld, Praveen Dhabhai.
Through their network of over 1,90,000 retailers across 630 districts in India, Payworld ensured that ample training and services are provided to people living in the remote locations where traditional financial institutions have no reach. Most people in the target were digitally and financially illiterate and were completely unaware about the existence of digital facilities which can bring ease to their lives. Overcoming such hurdles and with commitment towards the cause, Payworld became the leaders in providing assisted financial technology to the unbanked population and in many cases, became the first point of introduction to a financial product or service for most of their customers.
"Our services are intended at people who don't know how to buy a train ticket or purchase an insurance policy online. Our mobile PoS devices are used by retailers to accept payments from their customers through credit/debit card for the goods/services sold to them. This device also works as mini ATM, which means anyone can withdraw up to INR 2,000 from any partner retail outlet by swiping their debit/ATM card. The ultraportable device can be used to enable card acceptance at the customer's doorstep as well," added Dhabhai.
Payworld acts as an aggregator of financial services by pooling in basic banking services like money remittance, mutual funds, SME lending, cash-out facility, loan repayment facility and utility bill payments, in addition to other digital services such as mobile recharging, bus/train/flight ticket booking, as well as insurance from various service providers. Payworld aggregates these services into one single platform and provides them to retailers like kirana stores (small, usually family-owned shop selling groceries and other sundries) and mobile shops. These retailers in turn act as the service providers for the rural population and assist the customers in taking up these complex financial services.
With more companies understanding the importance of providing last-mile -connectivity, the focus will shift towards providing complete access to financial services to the lower strata of the society, thereby changing the dynamics of the Indian Fintech Sector.
(This story has not been edited by Business Standard staff and is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)