Paytm had brought in a literal revolution of sorts, when it introduced the hugely innovative and popular payments soundbox. A nifty little gadget that sits on the desks of 1000s of small merchants across India and pops up an audio announcement as and when you use a QR-code to make a payment. India’s mom and pop stores are always hustling and bustling, and hence an audio announcement for every payment made so much sense.
That sound box picked up popularity almost instantly, so much so that several other payment companies have since tried to replicate that model.
Adding on top of that innovation, Paytm is now introducing a brand new soundbox, albeit it now also accepts plastics. The new card-enabled sound box, will now also act as point-of-sales machine for merchants, thus immensely broadening their ability to accept payments from customers who still prefer to use cards over payment apps. The announcement was made in a Zoom presentation, with top CXOs from Visa, Mastercard and AMEX present.
This time around though, Paytm isn’t the only one launching that piece of hardware. Pine Labs, another major fintech player within the country, which dominates the point-of-sales market in India, launched a similar looking, similar card-enabled soundbox earlier today. The announcements came almost simultaneously, with Pine Labs announcing a morning launch and Paytm doing a post-lunch one. Just goes on to show the intense competition in the fastest growing internet market in the world. The payments space is more intense, with the government-backed inter-bank UPI network recording a staggering 10 billion transactions recently.
“Today with Paytm Card Soundbox, we take it to the next level. We have found that merchants and consumers need card acceptance as simply as mobile payments with Paytm QR Code. The launch of Card Soundbox will go a long way in merging the two requirements of merchants – mobile payments and card payments”, said Vijay Shekhar Sharma, Founder & CEO, Paytm.
Commenting on the launch, Navnit Nakra, CRO, Pine Labs, said, “QR-based and card tap payments are a perfect solve for Indian consumers on the go. On the merchant-side, an absolute must is a fast checkout experience and elimination of the cost barrier in point-of-sale digitisation.
In terms of features, both Paytm and Pine Labs offer similar functionality. The Paytm Card Soundbox has a built-in ‘tap and pay’ functionality through which merchants can accept card payments up to ₹5,000. The Made in India device is powered by 4G network connectivity and come with a 4W speaker. It has a long battery life of five days and offers alerts in 11 Indian languages that can be changed by the merchant through Paytm for Business app. Moreover, with Paytm Card Soundbox, users with NFC-enabled smartphones can also pay through their phones using the tap feature.
Both devices offer an NFC based card approach. None offers a swiping functionality which is found in more traditional card devices.