The user acquisition efforts being made by mobile wallet companies are in turn translating into relatively increased awareness about mobile payment technology at both consumers’ and merchants’ sides. Thanks to firms like Ola and Uber, even several autowallahs are now taking e-payments. And while the mobile wallet companies are fighting among themselves for a greater marketshare, an emerging startup in India UltraCash, wants people to do away even with the mobile wallets.
Bengaluru-based UltraCash was founded by Umesh Singhal & Vishal Lal in November 2014. The founding team is an alumnus of IIT-BHU and has an experience of working in an early stage startup. UltraCash is a mobile payment platform that enables the consumers to pay the retail merchants from their mobile without loading money; and let merchants accept money from their mobiles without any special hardware.
The startup connects consumers and merchants with product offerings, discounts and loyalties and is efficient and scalable for all stakeholders to drive mass adoption. The company simplifies the way consumers make payments, while giving the choice to the consumer to pay from an instrument of their choice viz. directly from her bank account or credit/debit card, without the need of transferring the money to any digital wallet. The consumer doesn’t need internet connection at the time of payment. The startup claims that the transaction is completed in a safe and secure manner.
Umesh Singhal, Co-Founder, Ultracash said, “The mobile phone is becoming a given extension of our identities and that’s where most technologies are converging. With the innovative Ultracash in your phone you can truly go cashless and have all your payment instruments converge inside the Ultracash Secure Vault and enable you a Pay on the go convenience. I see immense possibilities wrapped around this in the coming future.”
Here is a video which shows how it works:
UltraCash is running on a patent-pending technology for sound based proximity data transfer, where payment data is transferred from one device to the other using ultra high frequency sound waves. This technology ensures that UltraCash’s “Tap and Pay” works on all devices and doesn’t need any special hardware to make the payment (no need of special NFC chips etc.). The company claims that its technology transfers 256 bytes of payment data in fraction of a second.
UltraCash combines 2-Factor Authentication regulation of Indian Payment System with data transfer in an environment where customers use variety of phones, where mobile internet is not guaranteed and consumers keep their data connections off.
What problems is it solving?
The current retail merchant system is dependent on passive POS machine for digital payment which has a slower speed of scalability. The Consumers also looking forward to simplify their need of managing multiple accounts cards and wallets. Digital payments are the fastest method for large scale adoption.
“We believe this is the right time to contribute to this digital revolution with UltraCash. India has more than 25 million merchants and only 1 million registered POS machines. With UltraCash, any merchant with a smartphone can come and join the wave of digital payment revolution,” said Vishal Lal.
Key services or features of UltraCash
UltraCash is solving a lot of payment related pain points for various businesses. It is positioned to solve the “Cash On Delivery” problem that each online player faces today (both for eCommerce as well as other delivery based companies). It would be used for “Payment on Delivery” for home deliveries and eCommerce purchases.
Similarly, for bigger outlets billing is a huge challenge during peak sale periods where they have limited POS machines. UltraCash gives the flexibility to retailers to dynamically increase the active POS and hence address this pain point with no extra investment in POS by merchants. Vishal further added, “We’ll be solving many such problems and create a vibrant payment ecosystem which would be beneficial for all participants.”
The startup is Bootstrapped so far and its app has clocked more than 40,000 app downloads, with over 60,000 transactions and transaction amount exceeding Rs. 3 crores. On the merchant side, it has partnered with more than 600 merchants in various domains including restaurants/cafes, online groceries, stationary and electronics etc.
Talking about their monetisation model, Vishal mentioned, “We see ourselves as the consumer’s most trusted tool for making payment and not really a passive collection mechanism like the current POS machines. While there will be business agreement with merchants to get a percentage of the payment made, our main effort is to derive the value out of the value added relationship we will have with our merchants and consumers.”
UltraCash’s 2-year goal is to enable smaller merchants in Tier-2 and Tier-3 towns who today deal only in cash to be able to use their phone to accept payment through UltraCash. “By 2017, we will see more than 70% of metro merchants and more than 40% of Tier 2 merchants using the UltraCash digital payment system,” Lal added.
Sharing the company’s vision, Vishal further said, “Our Vision is to drive India to a cashless economy so that we can have a larger impact on the society and make the money work harder for both consumer and merchant. And create a mobile payment ecosystem where consumers can pay merchants in a very simple and secure manner simply from their mobiles and all merchants are able to receive digital payments seamlessly.”
Consumer spend in Indian retail market is estimated at $600 billion, set to grow to over $1.2 trillion in next 5 years. There are over 25 million merchants in India but only 4% accept digital payments currently. It seems that the adoption of smartphones and their usage in payments is set to drive a revolutionary growth to lead India towards a cashless economy.