5 Years, 18 Million Unique Users, Building Future of Fintech – Journey of Citrus Pay

Regardless of segment, it is imperative for every eCommerce company to have a payment gateway to facilitate transaction. The evolution of digital payment companies has been such that they have even penetrated the tangible world and are pushing countries around the world towards a cashless economy.

Going back to the basics, all business owners want to keep payments elementary and secure for their customers. But in all fairness, it’s the consumer who decides how things will work. The consumers want an ease of payment and want a choice in how they want to pay – through debit, credit cards, wallets, cheques, cash or gift cards. This is where the firms look for solutions to integrate the payment modes in their POS systems. In order to ease the transaction processing systems and enable more entrepreneurs to go and grow online, Citrus Pay was launched in 2012 in India.


From L-R: Citrus Pay MD Amrish Rau & CEO Jitendra Gupta

“It has been 5 years since the inception of this company, we had a very simple proposition– as India goes towards internet and mobile, the whole payment system is going to require a very strong provider and someone who can lead into the payments space. We came with the mindset of servicing the eCommerce businesses while we go on to internet and internet commerce,” says Amrish Rau, Managing Director of Citrus Pay.

The Emergence of Opportunities & Citrus Pay

Talking on how Citrus is sustaining the heightened competition fueled by the emergence of multiple players in this sector, Jitendra said, “when we started in India, there were issues around infrastructure stability, checkout experience, analytics etc. We thought of bridging this gap between the offerings that merchants were expecting and offerings that the banks didn’t provide.”

Payment companies are pivoting their business models, also it’s not just about eCommerce and mobile anymore. The horizon is expanding and with it the user experience. Jitendra added, “Look at Youtube, they’re changing their model. Now if you like a tennis racket video you’re watching on Youtube, they’ll provide a buy now option on the website too. This is happening in the US and will soon enter India. As the market is moving towards the hyperlocal segment and continues to move to a C2C economy, we believe payments system is going to come to the forefront and is going to create new business models.”

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The company has launched a few new products addressing the current demands of marketplaces like ability for consumers to create profiles, digital fingerprinting and so on.

Talking on various verticals which the company is tapping, its wallet app is one. CitrusWallet claims to have a user base of 21 million. While the team acknowledges that the number is small as compared to Paytm & Freecharge, they are confident that their in-house transaction facilitation backend and the partnerships with major banks in the country will help them surpass their peers.

Citrus takes pride in its low failure rate. It is the only company in India to have tied up with more than five payment gateways, which gives the merchant a lot more to choose from. Once chosen, the technology automatically sniffs for a payment gateway that is down and uses another one, thereby significantly reducing the failure rate for online payments, stated Jitendra.

Setting the Culture for Scaling Up

“One of our biggest milestones in our journey was when we started to control almost 100% of Bharti Airtel’s business when it came online. This happened 3 and a half years back, this was big because it just positioned us into a completely different category. Also, when this hyperlocal world was taking off, there was a need of a tokenized deep integrated payment wallet in the market. Just after we launched it, Paypal introduced a similar wallet. We were one of the leaders to launch tokenized wallet in the market,” said Amrish.

For a fact, this is the only company in India that has a tokenized wallet, security for card data transfer. A company’s culture always has a reflection on your work, Amrish pinpointed that they’re a customer centric company, anything and everything they do is based on easing the customers. He told us about Jet Airways, now when this airline company was revamping their online system they had a particular set of requirements, instead of running from those and saying this is not what our company offers we decided to stay. Now you can pay using any local card with any currency on their website.That’s just how we built the DNA of this company, stated Amrish.

Talking about striking a balance in the company and encouraging a team of 12-13 to execute efficiently on their ideas and tasks, Jitendra maintained, “Instead of giving our team directions, we decided to build this company where everyone is able to generate ideas, and own up to enact on those ideas; to execute them”. He added, “there was a time when the company got distracted by services that were not payment centric, just because the market had a different perception altogether. We had to take some tough decisions but then they were right and here we are now.”

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Few of the credible merchants associated with Citrus are, Delhi Metro, Delhi Jal Board, PVR, INOX, BookMyShow, ShopClues, Jet Airways, Indigo, GoAir, TinyOwl, Faasos, Grofers, ZoomCar, Myntra, Airtel, etc

The Future of Fintech

In this mixed economy where a consumer can act as a vendor at times and a vendor as consumer, it is important to maintain a balance in UX. If one has to buy a thing, he’s a consumer while when one wants to sell a thing let’s just say on Quikr, he becomes a vendor. Banks are treating these two differently by providing a savings account for the consumer and a current account for a vendor. This is where the company wants to act and create a sense of equality among both. Afterall, everyone will be a vendor in the coming future, the era of social payments have begun

According to a Ken Research report, India payments market will grow at a considerable CAGR, thus exceeding INR 8,172.7 Billion by 2019, to be driven by rising number of digital payments and increase in ease of access of financial services across various regions in the country.

“While rising awareness about digital payments, boom in mobile technology and an increase in the preference for hassle free transactions will result in a significant up-rising of the payment industry. The large untapped rural population and strict government regulations are few of the major challenges which may affect the growth of this industry in the future.

To flourish in this changing market, payment players must examine the impact of these trends on their business and make clear decisions. Finally, companies seeking success in the evolving environment should strengthen their strategic planning and mergers and acquisitions skills so that they can quickly react in what is likely to be a dynamic environment over the next several years.