Back in the day, opening your mailbox at the end of the month always came with a certain sense of dread because you knew you’d find a stack of billing statements from credit card companies, utility/telco/internet/auto, and property management companies. We all love payday but it’s almost immediately greeted by its less likeable cousin, bill-paying day.
Fast-forward to now and some things stay the same – paying the bills is still a dread. But things have also changed – the mailbox is gone. Most companies have gone digital, allowing customers to opt-in for paperless billing. It’s certainly convenient, but one of the caveats to receiving bills electronically is it’s often easily forgotten. Bills can easily get buried with the other 1,297 unread emails in your inbox.
What if we told you paying the bills can be less painful, and possibly rewarding? Enter Paytm — the only app in Canada that gathers all of your bills in one place and rewards you for paying your bills. Users have the option to pay through their bank, credit card or even with cash. With email reminders and app notifications, you never have to worry about missing another deadline for payments. The best part? Every dollar spent will grant you Paytm points that can be redeemed for things like gift cards, with up to 50 percent cashback.
Harinder Takhar is one of the people who kick-started Paytm’s success in India. Initially, an engineer, Harinder is now the CEO of Paytm’s R&D Toronto branch, the team behind the bill payment app. In an interview with him, we had the chance to learn more about the current relationship between banks and fintechs, regulatory challenges and the future of Paytm in Canada.
Trulioo: How would you describe the current relationship between traditional banks and fintechs? Where and how do you see financial services evolving in the next couple years?
Harinder: While many may believe that fintechs are disruptors to banks, Paytm does not. To the contrary, we believe banks and fintechs are partnering together to truly disrupt financial services. Paytm India is one of the largest fintechs in the Indian market and it has strong, established partnerships with banks. For example, Paytm India has increased transactions on card networks by several multiples and the mobile app offers its users lending products from banks. Additionally, Paytm India offers its data to banks to help mitigate the impact of fraudulent transactions.
Financial services providers will continue to migrate to digital channels because Canadians will likely choose digital over brick and mortar solutions. Paytm Canada continues to enhance its mobile bill pay application to offer consumers a fully digital experience to pay their bills, pay their peers, purchase lending solutions and more – all while providing superior service. Consumers cannot get this experience from their bank, but we can partner with their bank to make the experience seamless and offer a wider range of solutions.
Trulioo: As a company that deals in both India and Canada, how have you managed the regulatory landscape of both countries? Is one more challenging than the other? What are the lessons you’ve learned from that experience?
Harinder: The Canadian and Indian regulatory environments share similar objectives. Both countries feverishly protect consumers’ rights, but provide financial institutions, fintechs and other entities an avenue to improve upon the legacy financial system. Additionally, we've found that both India and Canada’s regulatory bodies are very in-tune with consumers' demands and new financial offerings hitting their respective markets. Paytm’s expansion into Canada was particularly attractive because it has a well-established and strong financial services landscape that is making great efforts to modernize even further – all while still protecting its consumers.
Trulioo: Any exciting developments we can look forward to this year for Paytm? How aligned is Paytm’s Canada offer/business with the company’s India business in terms of the services that you offer?
Harinder: A year ago, we launched the Paytm Canada mobile bill pay app that provides Canadians a fully digital experience to pay all of their bills instantly and earn rewards and cash back offers for doing so – with no fees. We continue to establish retail partnerships – most recently with 6,000 plus Canada Post locations – that will allow our users to directly deposit cash into their Paytm mobile app to pay their bills instantly. We will continue to enhance our mobile bill pay experience for consumers, and we plan to add an enhanced rewards network, a lending solution and ways for users to pay their peers instantly with no fees.
Paytm’s vision is to make Canadians’ lives easier by continuing to offer a savvy mobile bill payment app that consumers trust enough to use on a daily basis.
Trulioo: This last one is a fun one. What non-business book inspired you the most in your career? How and in what way did that story light your path?
Harinder: Actually, it is not a book. I have found great inspiration in the entire Calvin and Hobbes comic series, which offers the best take on life, the universe and everything I've encountered so far.
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