Shaping the future of payments, one innovation at a time
With Soft POS, merchants can now also accept contactless payments through an easy Tap on Phone
India’s digital payments ecosystem has grown by leaps and bounds over the last decade. In FY 2020, the country witnessed over 31 billion digital transactions. Confident about the potential of further growth, the Government of India has set a target of 45 billion digital payments in FY 2021.
Merchant acceptance infrastructure is cog in the wheel for digital payments ecosystem. However, the lack of awareness, hassle, and cost of owning physical payment infrastructure has been a big deterrent for merchants to start their digital journey. On the other hand, acquirers also faced challenges due to limitations with a costly physical infrastructure which offers select ways to accept payments and may not be an exciting proposition for most small merchants.
Mastercard has a stated goal of empowering 10 million merchants with digital payments acceptance capabilities by 2020-21. Thus, the company has been working towards merchant and consumer education, development of low-cost payments acceptance solutions and last-mile support for merchants to start their digital onboarding.
The current pandemic has had a severe impact on small businesses in India and this has posed 2 serious challenges for small businesses:
- Business continuity
- And Maintain Social distancing
Both these challenges look like opposing forces, as one would argue that if you need to maintain social distancing, then business continuity would suffer. And hence you cannot solve both these challenges at the same time. However, this is where businesses have to think differently in the so called “new -normal” and adjust accordingly. This reconciliation is possible & this is how? Small businesses will need to move to an O2O (An offline to online) model by providing am omnichannel experience to retain its customers or grow their business. In simpler terms, brick & mortar stores will need to offer the facility to take orders online & offer home deliveries to their customers and offer digital payments. This is no more a luxury and a growing necessity for businesses. Also provide digital payments like contactless payments & QR payments for instore transactions, as that provides more confidence to consumers. We have already seen a few neighborhood stores already adapt to this new -normal. The challenge is to take this to a mass number of SMEs in a cost-effective manner.
To solve for the above challenges, Mastercard in partnership with Axis Bank and Worldline developed and launched a Global first – A multi form factor Soft POS that essentially turns your smart phone into a merchant acceptance device to accept the following payments. (No need for expensive POS terminal).
- Face to face payments in the form of Contactless payments (Tap on phone) & Bharat QR payments.
- Also, remote payments with link-based payments for use cases like home deliveries.
This is a white label solution for merchant acquirers, i.e., banks and payments facilitators. Last week, Axis Bank became the first acquirer bank to roll it out under the name Qube.
Soft POS is a unique solution that transforms smartphones into merchant Point of Sale terminals. The solution comes with various features for the merchant community. Merchants who have traditionally accepted cash payments, now have a simpler and more secure way to manage transactions. The merchant community can start using Soft POS almost instantly as the online registration process with the acquiring bank takes less than 30 minutes. It is available as a white label solution to all banks and payment aggregators in the industry.
Soft POS empowers the SME to go online & is way beyond an acceptance solution with some powerful Value-added services (VAS) as below, to empower the SMEs:
- Online Dukkan: This helps physical stores to create an Online version & create a digital catalogue of items to offer home deliveries.
- E-Khata: The solution can record and store credit transactions the same way, it is done in a local kirana store, who gives credit to his customers. It can send payment ledgers along with a payment link to the customer at the end of the month to ensure accuracy and ease of payment.
- Cash Register: It can record cash transactions making it convenient for the merchant to keep a record of all collections.
- Zoho Business Solutions: Merchants can also access all Zoho’s suite of Software products to operate business efficiently.
The solution addresses the needs of kirana stores and small businesses, especially during these challenging times of COVID-19. It enables face-to-face payments with Bharat QR and NFC payments, as well as remote payments for home deliveries via link-based payments. The app also allows banks to have complete visibility of a merchant’s transactions, making it easier for small merchants to get business loans.
With this launch, Mastercard brings “Tap on Phone” functionality to the South Asia market for the first time, which means a cardholder can simply tap his contactless card on the merchant’s NFC phone to make payments. Since contactless payments are the healthiest form of payments for face to face payments, this makes the solution even more powerful.
Soft POS is available in eight languages and easily links with platforms such as Google Pay, WhatsApp Pay, Amazon Pay, amongst others. It provides a cost-effective card acceptance solution for all micro-merchants and SMEs and eliminates the need to invest in a POS device. Thus, they now have an option to accept contactless payments directly via their own Android smartphones with a mere tap and pay.
Soft POS is a groundbreaking step towards the common agenda of the Government of India and Mastercard to support micro-merchants in taking their business to the new levels and making them a part of India’s formal economy.