Paytm may be behind Walmart’s PhonePe and Google Pay in terms of transactions made using Unified Payments Interface (UPI), but credit where credit’s due, it was the first company to introduce sound boxes — a mini speaker with QR code that validates and announces payments to merchants. For a nominal subscription fee, the sound boxes help merchants avoid false payments, especially during rush hours. Inspired by Paytm’s sound box, other payments services have, too, come up with their versions. India’s largest company is now eyeing the segment and is reportedly developing its own sound box for its payments service called Jio Pay.
As reported by TechCrunch, the Mukesh Ambani-led Reliance Industries is testing its own sound box with employees in some of its brick-and-mortar stores. But these trials are happening at Reliance’s own campus, meaning they are still not available to merchants far and wide. The testing is in line with the company’s usual system of distributing upcoming products internally before a public launch. The sound box validates and announces successful payments made by a customer to a merchant using Jio Pay. The report did not say when the company will introduce the sound box for the public.
Payment-centric sound boxes have become immensely popular over the past few years, giving merchants an economical tool to ensure they have received payments without needing manual checks. The announcements, spoken in English, Hindi, and other regional languages, assure both shopkeepers and customers for a successful payment, especially in a noisy market where manually checking phone screens for successful payments and listening to customers is difficult. After Paytm, PhonePe and BharatPe also came up with their sound box payment systems. But to make its sound boxes stand out in the market, Paytm recently added the ability to play music on these mini speakers.
For payments companies, sound box services have become a new revenue source. Both Paytm and PhonePe charge a nominal subscription fee from merchants to offer them the sound box hardware and associated services. According to the report, the sound boxes have also helped these companies with insights into merchant behaviours, their spending, and other monetary patterns to offer them loans.
Reliance’s plan to introduce its own sound box systems, however, looks ambitious — much like its strategy to break into the digital payments markets dominated by PhonePe, Google Pay, and Paytm. With no discernible share in India’s payments market, Reliance’s Jio Financial Services is looking to expand into more businesses. Those include plans to introduce merchant lending, as well as a wealth management service in partnership with BlackRock.Get latest Tech and Auto news from Techlusive on our WhatsApp Channel, Facebook, X (Twitter), Instagram and YouTube.
Author Name | Shubham Verma