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  • Thierry Spanjaard

From mobile to physical world

While the rest of the world has been evolving slowly from physical cards to mobile apps and to mobile payments, India is going the other way round. PayTM, a major digital payment company in India, is now starting to issue physical payment cards. The cards that are to be issued are RuPay debit cards, compliant with the standard launched by National Payments Corporation of India (NPCI).

Launched in 2010, PayTM now has 250 million users. The company, which started with online mobile recharge and bill payments, is now a major marketplace in India. PayTM not only allows to pay all types of utilities from mobile phones, but also to buy gold, pay tuition fees, insurance, toll roads, public transport, and even Google Play. In just a few years, PayTM has become India’s largest mobile payment service platform. Also, PayTM penetration has greatly benefitted from the INR 500 and 1000 (EUR 6.40 and 12.80) banknote demonetization in 2016.

In 2015, PayTM, which is backed by blue chip investors such as Ant Financial (the investment arm of Alibaba), Tata, SoftBank and others obtained a banking license allowing the company to propose debit cards, savings accounts, online banking and transfers. The PayTM Payments Bank, which started in Q2/2017, positions itself as India’s first bank with zero charges on online transactions, no minimum balance requirement and free virtual debit card.

The new physical card, launched by PayTM Payments Bank allows cardholders to shop easily at any shop or withdraw money from any ATM. In other words, it will have the functions of any regular physical debit card.

Is this move from PayTM a demonstration mobile payment still need to interact with the usual physical world at a time along their growth path?

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