Wednesday, July 31, 2013


Innovation is all about 5 vital steps that race in synergy with each other to RENEW life. Payment Technology is not a recent RENEW exercise. We have been witnessing this transition in history right from the time when man gave away the barter system and moved to coins, to paper exchange, to cards to finally today when we are merging the forces of new generation technology with the sheer brilliance of the human mind. I believe there have risen three Innovations that have appealed universally to a wider audience, right from the affluent business class to the small time baniya, the London School of Commerce graduate to the Manubai College pass out. For a simple reason. They fit into the RENEW design in every sense.

Innovation 1- Mobile POS: Conceptualized by Jack Dorsey and James Kevkelvy in the year 2006, Mobile Point Of Sales is a dongle that can be connected to a phone’s audio jack to enable credit/debit card swiping and further allow payments. In the past few years, nothing has really democratized the payments space as the simple dongle. This unique blend of mobile along with a dongle allowed any individual the freedom to collect payments electronically with being mobile. Thus springing a great number of use cases. People who are providing any kind of service can start accepting card payments technically, at a low cost. We shouldn’t be surprised that at some stage we would have our own bhajiwallas, paanwala, carpenters also accept card payments.

Innovation 2 - Interactive Voice Response (IVR) based Payments: Interactive Voice Response (IVR) has extended telephony and has been applied by businesses to help customers get into a self-assist model for availing services whether it is finding out balances or knowing the list of items. IVR technology works on a very humble principle. Almost every individual in our country is connected to voice technology through their handsets or desk phones. Keeping this significant detail in mind, IVR allows your customers to make payments over a phone call through agent assisted integrated / non-integrated IVR options or a fully automated voice driven menu option (both inbound as well as outbound). In a country like India with over 900 million mobile phone subscribers, an IVR  payments can truly push the case for electronification of payments as bulk of the consumers are aware and have access to telephones. The technology requires just a basic handset to dial out to a number of the merchant. Also customers need not provide the card details to a call center agent. They can comfortably enter the card details over a menu assisted dialing through IVR, which makes it completely secure.

Innovation 3- Interbank Mobile Payment Systems: Interbank Mobile Payment Service (IMPS) is one of the path breaking innovations created by National Payments Corporation of India (NPCI). It offers 24x7 instant interbank electronic fund transfer service. To avail IMPS, the bank customer needs to have just mobile banking enabled. Thereafter he/she can easily access his accounts to transfer funds to another account in any another bank in realtime. IMPS’s interoperability is the key factor that boosts its empowerment motto. Fund transfer through IMPS can be executed technically through any channel – whether it is Internet, IVR or mobile. Its reach to every economic zone is clearly unbeatable. In the last few years, most of the innovations have occurred around the mobile phone only. One innovation which was not mentioned was Near Field Communication (NFC), which has been piloted around the globe for quite some time. However, the biggest use case for this has been in transit and tolling. Ultimately whatever be the innovation, it is the customer who will decide what works and what doesn’t. Of course, in an increasingly stressed world, it does pay to be simple and it is the RENEW paradigm that works across technology barriers – Sundar, sasta, tikaao as we say in India.

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