Wednesday, 22 February 2017

Visa and Andhra Govt sign MOU to develop Vishakhapatnam into India’s first less–cash city


Visa, the leading global payments network, today signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) with the State Government of Andhra Pradesh to help transform Vishakhapatnam into India’s first “less–cash” city.

This initiative is designed to provide the foundation for the city to emerge as India’s Fintech Valley, in keeping with the Chief Minister Naidu’s vision.

Chandrababu Naidu, Chief Minister, State Government of Andhra Pradesh, said, “We are delighted to partner with Visa, the leading global payments network on this strategic endeavor. Through this project, we hope to see a threefold to fivefold increase on the 6,400 merchants currently accepting digital payments, and to increase customer adoption of electronic payments by 75% to 100%."
“In my role as the Chair of the National Committee of Digital Payments, I also foresee this partnership as an opportunity to learn and develop insights on the approaches required to rapidly scale merchant acceptance and customer adoption of digital payments. I am hopeful that the learnings and success from this experience will provide a model that we could replicate across India in the medium–to–long term to steer India’s transition to a less–cash society.” 

To accelerate its journey to less–cash and to becoming India’s Fintech Valley, Visa will collaborate with the Government of Andhra Pradesh to focus on three pillars.

First, they will focus on driving payments digitisation. Visa, together with its partners, will work with key city agencies in Vishakhapatnam like the Greater Vishakhapatnam Municipal Corporation (GVMC), Common Service Centres, Andhra Pradesh State Road Transport Corporation, and key merchant segments like auto rickshaw drivers and the agricultural markets, to help digitize payments.
They will also consider conducting campaigns that target underserved segments, such as women and small merchants, to help educate them on the benefits and drive adoption of digital payments. Visa will also focus on working with state agencies to adopt commercial payment solutions that could see them realise significant cost savings.

In the second focus area, Visa will work with the city to help build the talent pool required in city organisations and in academia on emerging technologies like blockchain. For this, Visa will utilise its international reach to establish linkages with global experts in payments and FinTech.
The third focus area will be to provide support to FinTech start-ups by providing access to Visa’s APIs, providing subject matter expertise, and participating in boot camps and hackathons.
TR Ramachandran, Group Country Manager, Visa India & South Asia, said, “Visa welcomes the opportunity to partner with the State Government of Andhra Pradesh on this unique and strategic endeavor. We propose to undertake this initiative as a part of Visa’s global financial inclusion efforts that aim to provide 500 million underserved with a payment account by 2020.

“We are committed to bringing Visa’s global expertise, innovations, and resources to make this endeavour a success. With the launch of BharatQR, a global first of its kind low cost payment solution, we hope to rapidly scale up the number of small merchants accepting digital payments. In addition, we hope to implement innovative commercial payment solutions that will accrue significant benefits to the state.”

As the initiative scales up it is likely to draw participation from various philanthropic, academic and not–for–profit institutions to leverage their expertise and networks. Further, active support and collaboration with communities, city agencies and the state government will provide the on ramp for this unique initiative designed to propel the goals of a “digital, less–cash India.” 

Electronic payment acceptance across Vishakhapatnam is better than most cities in India at a per capita penetration of Point Of Sale terminals of 273, relative to India’s median of 489. However, it has significant room to improve in achieving best–in–class per capita level of 20.