BY S SHANTHI • NOV 6, 2023
The pandemic-induced digital adoption, widespread use of smartphones, increased internet penetration and e-commerce adoption have led to a shift towards cashless transactions. This shift has led to fintech players focusing heavily on the Point-of-Sale (PoS) segment.
PoS systems act as the bridge, enabling merchants to accept electronic payments effortlessly. They thus are also the low-hanging fruit for fintech players. Additionally, the Indian government has also been promoting digital payments to foster financial inclusion and reduce dependency on cash, say experts. Further, increasing competition in the fintech space has also pushed startups to focus on the PoS segment.
Here are some of the predictions, in terms of trends and growth, for the segment from experts for next year and beyond.
Experts believe that the demand for PoS and payment solutions in India is projected to increase significantly in the next few years due to several factors. For instance, an increasing number of Indian consumers are embracing digital payment methods, including credit cards, debit cards, and e-wallets. This surge will further fuel the need for PoS devices. Further, the government is also taking many initiatives to accelerate growth "The Indian government is actively encouraging the adoption of digital payments through initiatives like the Digital India program and the BHIM app. This proactive stance is playing a pivotal role in boosting the demand for POS devices," said Karan Verma, co-founder and director, FAAD Network.
With a vision to install 5 million PoS devices in rural areas by 2025, the Indian government aims to promote digital payments in rural regions, fostering the growth of the PoS device market. "Additionally, many Indian banks are offering subsidies to merchants purchasing POS devices, making them more economically accessible and further propelling demand," he added.
Additionally, growth in the retail sector has been tremendous. "The expansion of the retail sector, especially in tier-2 and tier-3 cities, will necessitate the deployment of PoS systems to cater to the increasing market," said Sougata Basu, executive committee member, India Fintech Forum. Innovations such as contactless payments, mobile PoS, and integrated payment solutions will also attract more merchants to adopt modern PoS systems. "These factors collectively contribute to a conducive environment for the growth of the PoS and payments industry in India, indicating a promising upward trajectory in demand over the coming years," said Basu.
In the coming years, experts thus anticipate the demands for PoS solutions to continue rising. "The younger generation is always ready to embrace easier ways to make payments. PoS fits there. Merchants like the soundbox at POS can give them payment confirmation. And the merchant's subscription gives recurrent revenue to the payment company. Paytm has deployed over 8.5 million soundboxes. It could add another 15 million in the next 2–3 years. Other players such as Pine Labs, PhonePe, and BharatPe have also made substantial deployments," said Fazal Ahad, managing director, Merisis Advisors.
Add to this the merchant devices from several top banks such as HDFC Bank and IndusInd Bank and Jio's expected entry into this space – this space is expected to see huge growth in the next 2–3 years, he added.
One of the most notable trends is the integration of advanced technologies such as blockchain and cryptocurrency payments. "As digital currencies gain acceptance, PoS systems will need to adapt to accommodate these new forms of payment. Another trend to watch for is the rise of mobile PoS solutions. With the widespread use of smartphones, businesses are increasingly adopting mobile PoS systems that allow for more flexibility and mobility. This can include mobile apps that can turn a smartphone or tablet into a PoS terminal," said Somdutta Singh, LP angel investor, founder and CEO, Assiduus Global Inc.
Experts also feel that with environmental sustainability becoming a priority, we can expect the emergence of eco-friendly PoS solutions that reduce paper waste and energy consumption.
Basu shared a few more trends that would shape the fintech space.
Integrated Solutions: Modern PoS systems are evolving to offer integrated solutions encompassing payment processing, inventory management, and customer relationship management to cater to the holistic needs of merchants.
Mobile PoS (mPoS): The adoption of mobile PoS systems, which convert smartphones and tablets into PoS terminals, is on the rise. This trend is driven by the cost-effectiveness and convenience mPoS offers, especially to small and medium-sized merchants.
Contactless Payments: The post-pandemic era has accelerated the trend towards contactless payments, with PoS systems adapting to support NFC and QR code-based transactions.
Buy Now, Pay Later (BNPL) Integration: Integrating BNPL options directly within PoS systems, as seen with Mswipe's initiatives, is a growing trend, allowing merchants to offer flexible payment terms to customers.
Data Analytics: PoS systems are increasingly leveraging data analytics to provide insights into consumer behavior and sales trends, helping merchants optimize their operations.
Cloud-Based PoS Systems: The shift towards cloud-based PoS systems is enabling real-time data access, remote management, and enhanced scalability for merchants.
Payment Aggregation: PoS systems are increasingly integrating payment aggregation features, allowing merchants to accept payments across various channels and platforms seamlessly.
Customizable PoS Solutions: Tailored PoS solutions that cater to the specific needs of different industry sectors and business sizes are gaining traction, offering more personalized options for merchants.
Cross-Platform Capabilities: PoS systems with cross-platform capabilities enabling seamless integration with various e-commerce platforms and other business software are in demand, facilitating omnichannel retailing.
The PoS segment has evolved and with UPI getting prominence the scope of expanding the PoS network beyond metros becomes possible. "With wireless becoming the trend, we expect the PoS segment to event evolve around it and across India. Overall the space will see innovative solutions to grab the new customer segments," sums up Anil Joshi, managing partner Unicorn India.
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(This article first appeared in Entrepreneur India. Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own. You're reading Entrepreneur India, an international franchise of Entrepreneur Media.)