One year since demonetization an event that changed Paytm’s fortunes irreversibly the fin-tech firm is gearing up for its next phase of growth. Now that cash is back in the system, the mere promise of ‘digital money’ or ‘cashless payments’ isn’t enough. Hence, Paytm is making big bets on additional services like messaging, gifting, payments banks and so on. Also Read - Using Paytm Transit card you can travel in metro, bus, train and more cashlessAlso Read - WhatsApp testing new shortcut to quickly forward stickers
Paytm founder Vijay Shekhar Sharma recently stated that in order to take on “deep-pocketed” global giants like Google and WhatsApp (both of which have entered the payments market in India), Paytm would invest Rs 5,000 crore over the next three years. “The biggest threat for us will be us, not anybody else,” Sharma reportedly said. “Paytm has invested more than Rs 5,000 crore in mobile payment… As a company, we have invested the most and will continue to be the largest investor [in digital payments] in the country,” he added. ALSO READ: Paytm rolls out in-app messaging feature Inbox to take on WhatsApp Also Read - WhatsApp allowed to double its payments service user base by NPCI: Report
Paytm also believes that though the entry of global tech giants means increased competition, it augurs well for the domestic payments market that would finally get the attention it needs. It would also lead to a proliferation of payments apps, more improved services, and better understanding of local customers. Paytm, of course, has the largest customer base of over 220 million. Mobikwik is a distant second with 65 million customers.
But with newer players like Google Tez and WhatsApp Pay (that is likely to launch next month) that have tailored themselves for the Indian market and are running on the government-backed UPI architecture, Paytm cannot rest easy. It has announced a BHIM-UPI integration, and a messaging feature in its app all within a week. ALSO READ: Paytm integrates BHIM UPI app on its platform
“We have realized that besides making payments, our users and merchants also like to communicate with each other. There is a need of social messaging, commerce and payments seamlessly blending into one another,” Paytm said in a prior statement. The company is flush with funds from Japan’s SoftBank which had invested a massive $1.4 billion in it earlier this year. Paytm would now look to utilize those funds in widening its services.