India: Paytm plans to invest $1.5b in financial services in next 3 years

By Deal Street Asia

Leading Indian digital payments firm Paytm plans to invest Rs10,000 crore ($1.5 billion) over the next three years to boost its banking and financial services business, said a Press Trust of India report. “We will invest Rs10,000 crore in our banking and financial services in the next three years. We hope to get the final approval for our payments bank operations soon, so that we can roll out services,” Paytm founder and CEO Vijay Shekhar Sharma was quoted as having said. The Alibaba Group-backed company plans to soon offer payments bank services in the country.

The Alibaba Group-backed company plans to soon offer payments bank services in the country. It claims to have already pumped in over Rs3,200 crore in the last two years for its operations.

One97 Communications, parent company was Paytm, was one of 11 recipients of a payments bank licence from the Reserve Bank of India in August 2015. Paytm Payments Bank, which now houses the electronic wallet business, plans to roll out several financial services products.

Noida-based Paytm was also recently reported to be in talks Japan’s SoftBank Group Corp to raise $1.2-1.5 billion in cash in a deal at an increased valuation of $7-9 billion.

Currently, Paytm operates a mobile wallet and e-commerce marketplace. The company’s business received a massive boost from the government’s demonetisation move in November last year, and the government’s subsequent efforts to promote digital payments. The company claims to have 1.5 billion transactions on its platform, and now aims to cross the 4.5 billion mark this year.

Payments banks can accept deposits from individuals and small businesses of up to Rs1 lakh per account. To deepen financial inclusion in the country, “We have seen significant growth and this year too, we expect to see a manifold growth to 4.5 billion. A significant part of this growth is coming from tier II and beyond cities,” Sharma was quoted as saying. He further said that cities like Jaipur, Sonipat, Vijayawada, Visakhapatnam and Durgapur were among the fastest growing for the company. At the end of March 2017, Paytm had 218 million mobile wallet users.