Paytm chief Vijay Shekhar Sharma has confirmed that the fintech giant was applying to constitute a New Umbrella Entity in partnership with several players including Ola, aiming to develop innovative digital payments solutions.
The consortium will also include a bank, a small finance bank, a payments bank, a fintech company, a tech startup, and an NBFC to become one of the most diverse NUEs ever seen, Vijay Shekhar Sharma said.
The RBI, last August, had put together the idea to create a non-profit umbrella entity to manage and operate new payment systems – especially consumer-facing products.
The consortium will be responsible for developing new payment methods and technologies, as well as coming up with innovative ways to boost financial inclusion in semi-urban and rural India, the RBI has envisioned.
Companies such as Tata and Amazon, to Reliance, Google and Facebook are either planning to apply, or have applied already, as per various media reports.
Amazon has tied up with Visa, ICICI Bank, Axis Bank, BillDesk, and PineLabs for the NUE. Softbank portfolio companies Paytm and Ola are also in line, as per a PTI report.
“We’ve been saying that payments have become mainstream, and it is important for us to create more payment options and opportunities for consumers and businesses alike. RBI took note of it and has given an opportunity to apply for NUE. We are going to apply for sure…the process is on,” VSS said.
“We see it as an opportunity to serve a large Indian population with more innovative, more inclusive payment options… We believe that we can play a role in that. So, we see this as an opportunity to be a catalyst in scaling of payments in this country,” he added.
India’s central banking authority, the Reserve Bank of India, has been pushing for digital payments players to facilitate more payments in lower-tier areas by exploring options such as offline payments, as well as beefing up infrastructure there.
Financial inclusion has become an important aspiration for the fintech industry in recent times as it not only helps millions of people access formal banking products and services, but also opens up a new user base for them.