Son of a schoolteacher from Aligarh district in Uttar Pradesh, Vijay Shekhar Sharma was enamoured by Jack Ma-run Alibaba’s concentrate on smartphones fairly than desktop computer systems, when he constructed a digital funds firm that may let Indians pay for greens, pay utility payments or purchase cinema tickets utilizing their cellphones.
Mr. Sharma, the poster boy of India’s fintech increase, additionally got down to construct an Alipay-like cell market to go alongside the funds enterprise, permitting companies to promote items from matchbox to iPhones on-line.
With fame got here a set of controversies for arguably essentially the most high-profile of a wave of Indian tech entrepreneurs. However none just like the one now. The present disaster the place the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) has ordered Paytm Payments Bank to halt most of its business, is an existential one.
Here’s a breakdown of Paytm Funds Financial institution disaster
What was the current RBI motion towards Paytm Funds financial institution all about?
The RBI final week ordered Paytm Funds Financial institution Ltd, a restricted financial institution that may take deposits however can’t lend, to not take any additional deposits or conduct credit score transactions or perform top-ups on any clients accounts, pay as you go devices, wallets, playing cards for paying street tolls after February 29.
Paytm Pockets clients can use cash until the time their steadiness is exhausted. They can not add cash after February 29. And in case the RBI doesn’t relent, top-up for Paytm Pockets will cease and transactions by way of it will now not could be carried.
What’s Paytm Funds Financial institution, and who owns it?
Paytm Funds Financial institution Restricted (PPBL) is an affiliate of One97 Communications Restricted (OCL). One97 Communications holds 49 per cent of the paid-up share capital (immediately and thru its subsidiary) of PPBL. Mr. Sharma has a 51 per cent stake within the financial institution.
PPBL commenced operations as a funds financial institution with impact from Might 23, 2017. The financial institution provided digital banking, together with financial savings accounts, present accounts, fastened deposits with accomplice banks, and steadiness in wallets, UPI, and FASTag, amongst different companies.
Paytm Pockets, which comes beneath PPBL, leads the section. As per the RBI’s provisional knowledge for December 2023, Paytm Pockets customers carried out 24.72 crore transactions price over ₹8,000 crore for buy of products and companies whereas 2.07 crore transactions have been carried out for transferring over ₹5,900 crore.
What occurred and what it means for purchasers?
The RBI directed the Paytm Funds Financial institution to cease accepting deposits or top-ups in buyer accounts, wallets, FASTags and different devices after February 29 on January 31. Withdrawal or utilisation of balances by its clients from their accounts, together with financial savings financial institution accounts, present accounts, pay as you go devices, FASTags, Nationwide Widespread Mobility Playing cards, are to be permitted with none restrictions, as much as their out there steadiness.
Paytm Pockets customers can proceed to hold on transactions until February 29. Nevertheless, after February 29, they may be capable of use their present steadiness until the time it’s exhausted however not add any cash to their account.
The identical rule is relevant on PPBL accounts, Paytm Pockets-linked companies like FASTag, Nationwide Widespread Mobility Card which are used for journey in metro and different public transport.
What are the alternate options for customers?
There are over 20 banks and non-banking entities that supply pockets service like Mobikwik, PhonePe, SBI, ICICI Financial institution, HDFC, Amazon Pay and so forth.
Equally, there are 37 banks comprising all of the identified private and non-private sector banks like SBI, HDFC, ICICI, IDFC, Airtel Funds Financial institution that are authorised to offer FASTag. Clients can recharge FASTag on-line utilizing their banks cell banking, web banking or third social gathering apps like Google Pay, PhonePe and so forth.
Why did Paytm Funds Financial institution come beneath RBI lens?
The banking regulator had been regularly flagging off points. In accordance with sources, cash laundering considerations and questionable dealings of a whole bunch of crores of rupees between in style pockets Paytm and its lesser-known banking arm had led RBI to clamp down on entities run by Mr. Sharma.
Sources additional stated that PPBL had lakhs of non-KYC (Know Your Buyer) compliant accounts and in hundreds of instances single PANs have been used for opening a number of accounts. There have been situations of the overall worth of transactions — working into crores, a lot past regulatory limits in minimal KYC pre-paid devices elevating cash laundering considerations, sources stated.
What has been the corporate’s response to the RBI’s Jan 31 motion?
Whereas customers have the choice to modify to different wallets, and FASTag companies and so forth being offered by different distributors, Paytm administration has stated that PPBL is in dialogue with the RBI to adjust to their path for persevering with the enterprise.
Paytm has stated that its monetary companies equivalent to mortgage distribution, insurance coverage distribution and fairness broking are usually not in any means associated to PPBL and are anticipated to be unaffected. The corporate’s offline service provider cost community choices like Paytm QR, Paytm Soundbox, Paytm Card Machine will proceed as standard, the place it could actually onboard new offline retailers as nicely.
Paytm sees an affect of ₹300-500 crore on its annual operational revenue.
How has One97 Communications’ shares responded?
Following the RBI’s crackdown, shares of One97 Communications Ltd, which owns Paytm model, slumped 40% within the final two days. The inventory tanked 20% to ₹487.05, its lowest buying and selling permissible restrict for the day, on the BSE on Feb. 2. In two days, the corporate’s market capitalisation eroded by ₹17,378.41 crore ₹Rs 30,931.59 crore.