India is racing on the ecommerce track. But there are many speed-breakers, and the biggest of them is payments. Complex regulations around credit card and mobile payments, clunky payment gateways, and language barriers are tying up many internet companies, including international players like Uber to homegrown superstars like Flipkart. Global leader in payments Visa Inc wants to do something about it.
It has announced the setting up of its Technology Center of Excellence in Bangalore, which will open in early 2015. “Teams at the Center of Excellence in India will focus on the development of key application programming interfaces (APIs) and software development kits (SDKs) in order to help an expanding group of global partners more easily access VisaNet when creating new commerce and payment experiences,” a statement from the company reads.
India’s startup hub Bangalore is home to several innovation centers of global technology companies, including Rakuten, IBM, and the latest, Xiaomi. So having a foothold in the city will give Visa access to a great ecosystem and ready talent.
Since the beginning of the year, Visa has been working on several new payment technologies. In the United States, Canada, and Australia it has introduced a payment service called Visa Checkout, which allows consumers to pay for goods online, on any device, in just a few clicks. It is also partnering with Apple to facilitate payments through Apple Pay.
Now that more and more consumers in India are using their smartphones to shop, mobile banking and online payments are hotbeds for innovation. So, it is boom time for mobile payment enablers like Ngpay, which Flipkart recently invested in, Paytm, and Freecharge.
Last month, Amazon launched a new payment tool called Pay with Amazon, which enables other ecommerce companies to integrate a smoother and more convenient payment system on their own sites. With this, third-party online retailers and merchants can outsource their financial transactions infrastructure to Amazon.
According to a Frost & Sullivan report, mobile commerce in India will record estimated revenues of US$1.26 billion with close to 72.5 million subscribers by the end of 2018. Currently, there are about 900 million wireless subscribers and 150 million mobile internet users in India.