This Fintech Company Is Betting on NFC to Build Payment Systems for Everyone

Of the 120 million digital wallets already in use in India, 40% of the users are from tier 2 and 3 town, says Lakshmideepa, CEO, YELDI & Arjunamurthy, Founder & CMD, YELDI.

What's the current digital payment landscape in India like? I personally feel that the digital payments space is the most buoyant business today, just like IT and software development was in the late 90s. While the mobile wallet space is relatively new to India, it is here to stay. Just to demonstrate my point – the number of mobile digital wallets is close to 120 million and has already outgrown the number of credit cards in the country by around 6 times! What makes this segment even more exciting is the fact that over 40% of mobile wallet users are from tier 2 and 3 towns. What's YELDI's value proposition? How is different than systems like PayTM? At YELDI – we try very hard not to be a me-too brand or a me-too product. We have the courage to ditch product ideas just because somebody else has already launched a similar product, even though there is a revenue opportunity there. So there is a world of difference between YELDI and other players in the digital payments market. We are a multiproduct, multi-audience company. Our core maybe the use of NFC technology for transactions. But we have conceptualized various product models to suit the diversified needs of the market. For example – our NFC prepaid cards are for just about anybody. But we also have a smartphone app for the technology-savvy audiences. We have closed-group payment systems, loyalty programs and business analytics that help retailers gain more traction with their customers. We also have specialised solutions for academic institutions and corporates. We will also very soon launch a solution that will serve the security needs of just about every apartment or condominium dweller. Do you an ecosystem for this model? How big is it? YELDI’s NFC ecosystem primarily comprises of:

  • NFC Handset: YELDI’s handsets are manufactured by globally renown manufacturers. The phone is highly secure and comes with both a SAM and centrally controlled OTA. Which means security patches and software updates could be managed both remotely and centrally. These handsets work as the card readers and writers.
  • NFC Card: YELDI’s contactless cards were developed in association with NXP Semiconductors. The card is designed to handle multi-tenant, versatile variety of payment and security access applications. When these cards are tapped against the YELDI NFC handset, data exchange take place and the transaction is carried out.
  • Backend Infrastructure: YELDI’s robust backend infrastructure is based at the country’s largest datacentre and has been built to handle large transaction volumes expected in the near future.
  • Mobile App: The mobile app will be customised for every customer. The app will allow customers to place orders or schedule appointments, check the latest offers, view past transactions, etc.
We have till date implemented several B2B closed-loop projects in Chennai, Hyderabad and New Delhi. We have also joined hands with NDB Bank in Sri Lanka and launched iTapIt – this is the first NFC card in the world to also carry a magnetic stripe to enable withdrawals at ATMs. We have just test-launched our FOLKS Tap & Pay Prepaid card in Chennai. This is our first B2C project. We will soon introduce such products in the other markets very soon. In a fragmented digital wallet space, what according to you will drive the success of digital payments systems in India? With the current dynamics in India, the concept of digital wallet space will reach its pinnacle in the next few years. There are nearly 1.2 billion smartphone users in India which makes it easy for technology of this nature to easily penetrate into the market. Acceptance of smartphone-based payments at various points like physical brick and mortar retail stores, public transport, COD consignments, toll gates, etc. will be definite boost to this industry. We believe that introducing the tap and pay concept of digital payment to the public will certainly be one of the factors for an evolution in a cash centric economy in India. To promote the usage of digital payments, the government too needs to bring in provisions that will lower the transaction costs over cashless economy. Digitalizing all transactions will help in keeping a better track record of expenses allowing for better financial management in the longer run. Who are your customers? Where you in terms of growth? Please share numbers. YELDI’s products are designed in a way that can be used by people from all segments of society. There is a wide range of product and services that we offer enabling us to broaden our spectrum. We have just launched the FOLKS prepaid card in collaboration with AXIS Bank. The product is positioned as a home budget card that rewards customers with a spend-based bonus cashback at the end of every month. This could be used by just about anyone who wants to limit their household expenses and experience the convenience of cashless transactions. We also have specialised products for the B2B segment. Our Lifestyle cards (loyalty + payment) is a really cost-effective solution for any retail business. We also have specialised solutions for Retailers, Restaurants, Academic Institutions and SMEs / Start-ups. Each of these solutions helps our customers achieve their business potential in a unique way. Our target for this fiscal year is to hit the one million mark with the FOLKS Tap & Pay Prepaid card. Who are your competitors and what's your strategy to tackle them? ‘Cash’ is our biggest competitor and that is the only market we consider our competition. India is a large enough market for everyone in this segment. We are more than happy to focus on our strengths and offer  unique products to the market at frequent intervals. We would like to use state-of-the-art NFC technology to develop products that could be used by the masses, even by a chaiwala. If we accomplish that, then we would have accomplished a dream that was envisioned when this company was started. To make this dream come true – we are forever willing to join forces with other players in the market.


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