Edge Insights

Fireside Chat on Digital Payments - The Bedrock of the Digital Economy

In the digital age, innovation in payments enables us to interact in easier, faster, and cheaper ways. As our lives have suddenly gone digital, so have our payments: there has been a surge in online payments and a shift towards contactless payments in shops. The coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic has accelerated this trend towards digitalisation. E-commerce, which has grown steadily in recent years, increased drastically in terms of volume of sales throughout 2020. 

The pandemic has caused immense suffering. Too much of the economic toll has been borne by the most vulnerable people, in wealthier and in poorer countries alike. But there are some bright spots. Heroic nurses and doctors saving lives. Essential workers keeping the lights on, water running, and store shelves full.
And many others kept businesses going – like the people of the technology industry, who have profoundly changed our ways of working, interacting, and living our daily lives. They have brought the digital future to our fingertips – and our doorsteps, and of course payments had a huge role to play in it. Digital payments are now not just for the tech-savvy – they have huge implications for the whole world and 2020 has been a great example for it. 

"Payments as a layer has always been there. It has just evolved in different forms. And why has it always been there? It's important to understand that because it has always enabled trade. And, therefore since trade is going to be a forever and ever in the part of humankind, payment as architecture is going to be there forever" - said Mr. V. Vaidyanathan, Managing Director and CEO, IDFC First Bank during his welcome keynote at Pay-IT Conclave 2021 organised by TechCircle and sponsored by Hewlett Packard Enterprise and Intel. The digital conclave was powered by Mint which was held on January 21, 2021. Mr. Vaidyanathan during his keynote addressed a crucial topic i.e. 'Payments: How to think about the role of payments in the new digital world.' 

The internet platform and the payment layer being created on top of that platform has made a huge difference. The ubiquitousness and the use of payments have dramatically changed us. And with that came edge capabilities like Al, ML, AR, VR, NLP, etc, which were further layered by several services that ride on top of these and help the end-user by making their lives easier and efficient. Due to all this now companies can service people even in the remote places which were earlier underserved or under-penetrated. 

While payments are the bedrock, but the end proposition is not payments alone. It is the services that are offered on top of the payments. Mr. Vaidyanathan added, "payments are enablers and they are enabling businesses, helping companies in reaching their consumers, and in turn expanding the markets. So we need to grow the payment ecosystem because every other ecosystem is building on top of that ecosystem."

Mr. Vaidyanathan also spoke about the role of fintech in building the payment ecosystem. He added, "they're able to reach many parts of the ecosystem. Whether as a competitor to the banks or as partners, the key thing is that they're enabling something, they're creating some part of India, and they're enabling services. I think, first as an Indian, then I think, as a banker, and I think for India, it's good that such ecosystems are being developed with somebody who's catering to them. It does not matter whether banks are doing it or fintech are doing it.”

For more details on this exciting keynote by Mr. V. Vaidyanathan, log on to payit.techcircle.in