Edge Insights

TechTalk on Merchant Acquisition - More frictionless than ever by Shailesh Paul, VISA

18 February, 2021

The COVID-19 pandemic accelerated the digital evolution of the point of sale, but the door remains open a crack for old-fashioned sales and service practices in a post-pandemic world. Even early in the pandemic, it was apparent that acquirers needed digital onboarding, electronic payments, and automated chargeback solutions to keep their footing in an acquiring landscape already facing disruption. 

But now, many are contemplating what a post-COVID acquiring world will look like and how digital offerings will coexist with traditional one-on-one merchant account and payment processing sales. Tech-savvy companies have been able to help their resellers move into cloud-based options that eliminate paper processes and quickly set up digital payment solutions.

To deliberate on issues like this and many more on the payments ecosystem TechCircle organised the third edition of its  Pay-IT Conclave 2021 sponsored by Hewlett Packard Enterprise and Intel. The digital conclave was powered by Mint which was held on January 21, 2021. Mr. Shailesh Paul, Vice President/Head, Merchant Sales & Solutions and Cyber Source, India and South East Asia, Visa delivered a Tech Talk on ‘Merchant Acquisition - More Frictionless Than Ever’, during which he covered a wide array of issues and how can companies navigate these challenges and deliver a seamless and frictionless service.

Mr. Paul quoted, "Our goal in our seller side of the ecosystem, is that we have to do a couple of things. We have to deliver a better customer experience, which means it should be easier, safer for customers to come and conduct commerce. And we should be able to help drive the business forward for the underlying merchant. And we should make purchases happen. That's the core of what we're trying to do." Mr. Paul added Visa has observed six major trends taking place in the payments ecosystem, which are shaping how commerce is likely to evolve as we all go through this financial year and 2021.   

The first big trend as per Mr. Shailesh Paul is 'Digital First'. Consumers are shifting to digital-first commerce - no matter what they're buying and the merchants need to adapt to this shift. Secondly, is the 'Rise of Pay Later'. If you look at the overall number of customers that have access to financial services, and banking 900 million customers in India have access to one form or the other of financial products. A very small number of them have something like a credit card which is less than 40 million customers, although there are 250 million customers on credit bureaus with scores that could potentially get credit cards or other forms of credit. So the customer is completely underserved when it comes to delivering credit to them. And that's a big problem. Mr. Paul added, "the way that we're thinking about it is to support the fintech that is coming out with innovative ways of delivering credit, in addition to the banks that we've always served. So our job over here is to deliver the credit not so much to provide the credit but to deliver it in a form where those that need it, have access to it. And those that want to offer it on their platforms have access to it."

The other trends as per Mr. Paul, are:

  • Contactless Future: Safety, speed, and convenience in low touch commerce
  • Small Businesses Seeking Recovery: SMBs around the globe are seeking quick and immediate paths to recovery as many navigate the overnight move to digital commerce
  • The Phone is the New Terminal and the software is the new POS
  • No Compromise on Security: A digital business without the appropriate security cover in place is a disaster waiting to happen.

As per Mr. Paul, each of these six trends is highly pertinent to the merchant environment and each of these trends is an enabler for VISA to enable the digital future that the government and all of the industry stakeholders are so focused on.

For more details on this exciting tech talk by Mr. Shailesh Paul, log on to payit.techcircle.in