Amazon Pay, a trusted, convenient, and rewarding way to pay for anything, anywhere on and off, continues to extend the convenience of Amazon Pay by making it possible for millions of cash customers to start making digital transactions and support the Government’s vision of encouraging electronic payment, leading to a less-cash society in India. Amazon Pay smoothens the customer experience of online payments at the time of placing orders with the benefit of ‘one-click’ payments leading to a faster and smoother checkout process. With its cash-load feature, it also solves the pain point of tendering the exact amount of cash at the time of delivery. “When we started the journey payment problems were very acute in e-commerce. One in almost two payments used to fail and it needed disruption, innovation on how you can really make it easy for customers to pay online,” said Vikas Bansal, Director, Amazon Pay. “And then we realized that credit access is very limited compared to when you look at other countries globally. We were like 3 percent whereas other countries were at 70 to 80 percent. Apart from this, there was this habit of paying cash. We said let's start with all these problems. And, we are really glad to see the progress we've made,” he further added. In India, we still have about 70 percent of consumption that's still in cash and still, 95 percent of the consumers do not have access to credit. So, Amazon Pay’s competition is from cash and it is looking forward to exploring the tremendous amount of opportunity that India still holds.

Bringing SMBs under the gambit of digital economy

As part of Amazon India’s endeavour to digitally enable small and medium businesses (SMBs), Amazon Pay announced that it has empowered over 85 lakh+ offline small business owners and entrepreneurs with its digital payments infrastructure. Earlier, these merchants largely transacted in cash for business operations, now they accept payments from their customers using Amazon Pay’s QR Code. Furthermore, initiatives such as the Amazon Pay for Business App, voice notification feature, and easy availability of working capital loans, have enabled such micro-businesses, and merchants to experience a convenient digital journey.

In its journey to bridge the digital divide between India and Bharat, Amazon Pay has enabled a diverse ensemble of small merchants and entrepreneurs. Of the 85 lakh+ SMBs, there are more than 40 lakh retail and shopping outlets such as Kirana stores, and general stores; over 13 lakh food and beverage outlets such as restaurants, small eateries, and fast-food joints; around 30 lakh service providers such as salons, mobile recharge, internet café, health and medical care, travel, and transport, education services, store owners comprising of miscellaneous categories and more. “SMBs are the backbone of our country. At Amazon pay we are really working to digitize this community and also help them scale their business, through technology and their funding needs,” he stated. “We have a program where we connect merchants that are also sellers on our marketplace with the banks and non-banks in a very transparent way. Apart from this, we are also providing offline stores access to a customer set base in their neighborhood along with providing digital access,” he added. The focus of Amazon Pay continues to be on those merchants that have never been given credit because either they didn't have a digital footprint or they didn't have access. Amazon Pay helps them by providing smaller loans using the digital footprint.

Strengthening the UPI experience

Amazon Pay is working with NPCI to spread awareness about the digital economy and planning to take the customer base to 200-400 million. “Here ther biggest barrier is not knowing about how it works and are they safe. So we are running a lot of campaigns to really help them understand the benefits of digital payment and how you can use them and ensuring that they're safe,” he asserted. “The second part of it is the fraud. When there is explosive growth, it also attracts a lot of fraudsters wanting to defraud the system. That's where we continue to work to proactively strengthen the algorithms so that we can detect any frauds very early before even they hit the system,” he further added. Most of the UPIs are connected to bank accounts but when you go really deep into India, a lot of people don't have a functional bank account and that's where wallets become very important. Amazon Pay is also working with NPCI to connect UPI with wallets.

Buy Now Pay Later

There are two trends that are playing out really well - the Gen Z population wanting to pay digitally and wanting more credit to fulfil their aspirations. So, there is a need to pay digitally and also to get a credit solution. And that's where having a very simple, transparent digital-first credit offering like BNPL becomes very powerful. “We offer a credit line to consumers within 60 seconds i.e. while they are in queue to pay for the items during checkout. The consumers can opt for an option to pay to Amazon Pay towards the end of the month for small-ticket items or they can also opt for an easy installments scheme for big-ticket items at zero percent interest,” he explained. “We were the first with our partner bank ICICI to launch video KYC on a credit card with the end-to-end digital experiences,” he added.

What lies ahead?

Amazon Pay aims to work with all the players in the ecosystem like banks, non-banks, fin-tech companies, etc. in India. “We are also very bullish about voice-based payments because at times customers find it difficult to touch and pay. We are making it easy by just giving a command to Alexa to pay the bills while ensuring the same level of security,” he stated. “Sound-based payment is another technology where if you're in close proximity, you can pay digitally, especially in crowded places like FASTag. We are working on strengthening our presence in sound-based payments. There are several innovations that Amazon has done globally and we are partnering to bring some of those to India where you can use proximity-based payments to simplify customers' lives,” he concluded.

This article first appeared in and has been reproduced with permission.