The Path To Cashless Nirvana

Vijay Shekhar Sharma shares How this fintech startup disrupted the status quo Tell us about the payment bank.

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Entrepreneur gets up candid and personal with Vijay Shekhar Sharma to know How this fintech startup disrupted the status quo Tell us about the payment bank.

Entrepreneur India

Tell us about the payment bank.
Payment bank is an unique model, first in the world. We were sort of able to put our point of view that how could it solve problem and also distribute financial services. Most cities and villages don't have complete services, so we built an application around the model and it got approved. Once it was approved, we then started and took it to the next level and we saw it as an extension of payment services. Now that the payment bank has been built, we have to build a real strategy, as a payment bank license, to how we would take it.

It's an opportunity where we will not only create something called deposits, which has the banking business for us, this is an opportunity to give the world a new business model of banking and it will take time to change hundreds of year old professions and it is totally not possible to do it on a mass level. It's totally incredible and humble to know that you could solve a problem of a country. We then changed our mission statement that we will bring half of million Indians to the mainstream of economy. We moved on from being a transaction centric payment company to a financial services company.

India has seen growth, it gives lot of opportunity; making the benefits of economy of a country that is growing, however, with people who were poor and got only one identity, Aadhar; and that is exactly the reason we took it as an ambition that we will build a financial service organization with five hundred million people.

How you are working towards the payment license bank?
We have placed the banking license and we are preparing for that. One of the biggest things we have to do for bank, unlike payment, is to be aware and make us available at the places where our customers are. So we are building a concept of "Paytm ka ATM' and that concept is nothing but instead of an ATM, a human being will be present at every Paytm booth, to help you assist banking transactions.

We are not targeting hundreds or thousands but millions. What we have realised, ATMs are costly, in terms of execution and people are not very comfortable with it. Even the largest of banks not have more than 300,000. We want to build a network to tap this market. If you and I are looking to a bank, imagine a bank or a bank member that is available at 1 million points in this country.
Where do you see yourself from now?
What happens in long horizon, we cannot say but I think in next five years, a target has been set. 50 crore by 2020 and talking about size of customer transaction volume, the size of volume of payments, deposits and other financial services, we know that by 2020 we will definitely have 50 crore accounts and one lakh crore will be the payment transaction volume; however, looking at the current growth we can achieve this by 2018. I believe that in next five years we should become from a leading payment company to a leading financial service company in this country.

(This article was first published in the December issue of Entrepreneur Magazine. To subscribe, click here)