The New Normal - Business in 2020 & Beyond
In our first interaction we bring to you expert opinion by Mr. Subhash Kumar COO, Nearby Technologies, on the Indian FinTech Industry.He is very positive about the industry outlook and says ," We are very excited about the future and see 10 to 15% growth potential month on month in all services that we currently offer."
Q.1. What has been the impact of COVID on the FinTech industry?
A significant portion of our transactions originated from migrants who earned in cities and sent money to their families back home. COVID led to large scale loss in livelihood, impacting both them and their families. The Direct Money Transfer business saw an initial slump as people struggled for existence. The Government relief package of Rs. 1.75 lakh crore came as a breather and the money started hitting beneficiary bank accounts by April. Everything was fine upto this point. The problem arose in giving citizens access to this money that was lying in their accounts.
There are less than 25,000 ATMs servicing 6,00,000+ villages housing more than 800 million people in the country. With lockdown and loss in mobility, people found it extremely difficult to access the relief funds. This is where the Business Correspondent network or the banking mitras played a vital role.
At PayNearby, our Digital Pradhans spread across 17,000 PIN codes braved the pandemic and created a safe and hygienic environment at their outlets, from where citizens could easily access these relief funds and stay afloat. In April to June, we saw a three fold increase in Aadhaar enabled cash withdrawals, and helped citizens access over Rs. 9,000 crores of DBT funds in this period. Soon, we also started seeing some reverse money migration, where rural areas started sending money to cities to aid the out-of-job workforce.
A significant development at PayNearby, during this period, was the launch of our online jobs registry, JobsNearby. This facility is available at all PayNearby outlets, and is our endeavor to give back to our customers, and help the unemployed workforce get back on feet, by connecting them to relevant job openings.
Q.2. How has the industry conducted business during this pandemic?
One of the most important things that needed to be implemented to conduct business in this period was to create safety and hygiene protocols for our Digital Pradhans, who braved the pandemic and kept their outlets open to serve the country. We undertook significant awareness campaigns to ensure that health protocols were maintained in all our outlets. For our customers to have easy access to products that they needed to survive the pandemic, we worked with partners to launch affordable COVID insurance policies, set hygiene protocols for secure cash withdrawals and launched UPI QR codes for cashless transactions. We also revamped and launched our hyperlocal business, BuyNearby, so that local retailers could take their stores online and not lose out on business during this pandemic.
For our colleagues and co-workers, 100% of us, including sales, are working from home. We have witnessed an overall increase in productivity as people have not only appreciated the key role that we are playing in these troubled times, but there has been a general sense of calm with more work life balance. When the playground is changed, rules must be changed quickly and early adoption along with coordinated engagement across all stakeholders is important for business continuity.
Q.3. Is the industry embracing new technologies to tide over this situation?
“Zero work from home” to “All work from home” was the biggest challenge during this pandemic. System and Data accessibility from outside the office environment, Whiteboard meetings/reviews, coordinated release plans all came as challenges to us. Being a technology company, we have some extra advantage to quickly make arrangements and adopt it, which otherwise is a huge challenge. Audio and Video conferencing are part of daily work life schedules. Paynearby not only provided digital payment infrastructure, it adopted a digital way of work life quite easily and early to be in the game for a longer run.
Q.4. Has the consumer behaviour changed and will it be permanent.
I believe that consumer behavior has certainly changed from “Just Spend” to “Need based spend”. Online shopping, food and grocery ordering have picked up with Digital payment adoption and will continue to exist. Online learning has become a part of life and none complaining. Am sure people are waiting for a Covid free country but this has taught all of us to re-look and re-orient business, work and behaviour.
Q.5. Is the consumer spending getting back on track?
Spent on luxury is almost zero and people are willing to save for the future. Essential and need based spending is slowly growing. I personally feel that demand for healthcare products are at all-time high. Likewise spent on home entertainment has grown.
Q.6. What do you see as a permanent change in the way FinTech Industry did business?
Work from home will certainly exist not only for us but most of the Technology companies across the Globe. Just not digital payment, digital work life will be a permanent change many organizations will adopt from a Business continuity perspective too.
Q.7. The future of your Industry - 2020 & Beyond.
Assisted banking, which Paynearby provides by re-skilling existing retail networks across India will continue to grow. Service deliveries at Nearby stores would be the most preferred mode for many fellow Indian. Apart from basic banking services like deposits and withdrawal, we also provide goal based savings and specific Insurance products designed for our target customers. Digital Cash availability in rural India and bringing them into formal banking channels will give larger growth to Industry. We are very excited about the future and see 10 to 15% growth potential month on month in all services that we currently offer.
“The views expressed by the interviewee are their own and may not necessarily represent views of employers and partners associated with the interviewee”.
Ekaga's Point of View
FinTech Industry in India is amongst the fastest growing FinTech markets in the world. Key government initiatives like UPI, Digital India coupled with Aadhar penetration has helped India to achieve the highest adoption rate for FinTech services across the globe. In India, FinTech is the second highest funded sector after E-commerce. The transaction value of the Indian FinTech market which stood at approximately $ 65 bn in 2019 is expected to grow at a CAGR of 20% and jump to approximately $ 140 bn by 2023. By 2030, India will add 140 mn middle-income and 21 mn high-income households which will drive the demand and growth in the Indian FinTech space.
So while there were few initial challenges due to COVID, the Indian FinTech industry has been quick to adapt itself. The Direct Money Transfer and the revenue from sales of non essential items may continue to see some slump during this year, overall there will be an increase of digital payments as people become more wary about health and hygiene. The industry may also see a spike in Digital Lending and InsurTech, ensuring a balance between safety and financial inclusion.
The Indian FinTech will look into newer technologies towards contactless payments, mATM, AI and ML tools and process automation