Rajesh Rai, 25, makes at least 20 rounds to neighbourhood households across the Dwarka sub-city in Delhi to deliver food from the restaurant he works in. And Rai used to have a unique problem.Not every home that he visits has the necessary cash or can tender the right amount of change for the food items purchased. "This often led to considerable delays and ultimately led to loss of precious time. Since my salary depends on the number of trips I make, the delays actually mean loss of money for me," Rai explains. But then, that was in the past.
The food courier now carries a mobile card reader attached to his smartphone and proudly charges his customers though their debit or credit cards, saving time and earning more commissions.
Mobile card readers are revolutionising the way business is done as they are dramatically increasing the reach of credit and debit cards as instruments of convenience that can be used by small shops and even mobile agents like Rai. These mobile card readers cost anything between R 3,000 and R 4,500 and can be attached to the headphone jack of any phone with Internet connectivity and a GPRS capability to receive and send data packets on cellular networks. The phone then becomes a swipe-friendly device.
The last mile connectivity has opened up huge business opportunities for technology startups such as Ezetap, Paymate, Mosambee and Prizm Payments (now acquired by Hitachi). These firms offer mobile card readers and software apps integrated with banks to reach out to people like Rai.
"It is cost-effective but supports apps that process payment details and along with backend data generate newer business insights in real time. This can be crucial for small and medium business enterprises," said Abhijit Bose, co-founder and CEO of Ezetap. Bose’s firm has sold close to 15,000 mobile card readers and expects 10% growth over the next one year."These devices make it easier for innovative solutions to be deployed," said Jaideep Ghosh, partner at KPMG India.
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