Paytm unveils ₹999 ‘soundbox’ that takes card payments

September 04, 2023 08:37 pm | Updated 11:03 pm IST - BENGALURU

Representational photo

Representational photo | Photo Credit: REUTERS

Fintech firm Paytm on Monday unveiled a ‘soundbox’ device that lets merchants accept both mobile and card payments across networks including Visa, Mastercard, American Express and homegrown RuPay, to attract more subscribers from its large network.

Soundbox provides instant audio alerts on amounts paid to merchants through an inbuilt speaker.

Paytm, competes with players such as Google Pay and Walmart’s PhonePe in India, where digital payments gained traction after the country banned some high-value currency notes in 2016. Merchants from vegetable vendors to large retail stores now accept digital payments.

The launch of the ₹999 ‘Card Soundbox’ comes as rival Pine Labs announced a similar device on Monday at “nearly one-third of the cost of a regular Point of Sale terminal”.

Merchants can accept card payments up to ₹5,000 through Paytm soundbox’s ‘tap and pay’ feature.

The focus is to add as many merchants as possible and engage with them, riding the popularity of soundbox, Paytm CEO and founder Vijay Shekhar Sharma told Reuters.

Merchants will pay ₹99 per month to use the device. Paytm has already released two soundboxes without the card payment capability, which have found over 8 million buyers.

Paytm’s focus is on generating revenue through subscriptions from its large merchant network, which stood at 36 million as of June.

Merchant payment volumes for the month of July 2023 stood at ₹1.47 trillion, up 39% from a year ago.

While Pine Labs had said their ‘price-friendly product’ was expected to boost digital payment adoption in India, Mr. Sharma said the new soundbox was the cheapest among available devices.

Paytm shares ended little changed on Monday, trimming some earlier losses. The stock has rebounded sharply from November lows after the company reached operational profitability ahead of schedule, but is still about 60% off its IPO issue price of ₹2,150.

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