Some of India’s biggest fintech s،ups are making deeper inroads into soundboxes, unveiling new push to the pocket-sized devices w،se chimes are fast becoming the new ‘ka-،g’ for millions of Indian merchants.
Paytm, w،se soundbox leads the market and is used by over 7 million merchants, launched an advanced version of the device that doubles as a card ma،e, accepting offerings from Rupay, Visa, Mastercard and American Express.
Even with a 30-year presence of cards in the South Asian market, a mere 4 million s،ps entertain them. In contrast, soundboxes have already made their mark in 8.5 million stores and are on a rapid ascent.
Paytm said its new soundbox, which is priced at 999 Indian ru،s ($12), supports 11 languages, features a display and 2,600mAh battery that will allow the device to last for up to 5 days on a single charge.
The soundbox, w،se bill of materials cost less than $20, is rapidly becoming an emblem of di،al transactions in various Indian retail settings. Its audible confirmation feature is particularly popular in marketplaces and cacop،nous street corners, instilling trust and confidence in both sellers and buyers regarding payments transactions.
Moreover, the soundbox has evolved into a lucrative subscription model over time as companies like Paytm and the Walmart-backed P،nePe impose nominal subscription charges on merchants. The real allure of the soundbox extends beyond its auditory alerts — it provides invaluable insights into merchant behaviors, facilitating the offering of loans based on this data, which is also increasingly now piquing the interest from banks.
Banks were earlier hesitant in chasing the QR or soundboxes market in India because they felt that there is no money to be made in the category. Firms like Paytm proved a business case of lending by ،essing merchant’s cashflow and transactions, similar to Square’s play in the U.S.
The all-in-one Soundbox will “propel payments and consumer c،ice to the next level,” said Ri، Chha،, VP and Head of Merchants Sales at Visa, at a press conference Monday.
“Paytm has always been at the forefront of innovating for India’s small businesses, solving their payments and financial services problems,” said Vijay Shekhar Sharma, founder and chief executive of Paytm. “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 push makes Paytm’s card offering more compelling to fight point of sale ma،e offerings from Pine Labs and banks.
Pine Labs, backed by Peak XV and Fidelity, interestingly has unveiled a new POS ma،e, adding the soundbox alert system. The s،up said its new device costs a third of the standard terminal ma،es.
P،nePe, a rival to Paytm, also unveiled an update to its soundbox, saying merchants can now receiving the notification in the voice of Bollywood legend Amitabh Bachchan. Reliance, India’s largest firm, is also testing a soundbox at its campus, TechCrunch reported earlier.