India’s leading fintech startups are expanding their presence in the soundbox market, aiming to capture the attention of millions of Indian merchants. Paytm, a dominant player in the market with over 7 million merchants, recently launched an upgraded version of its soundbox that doubles as a card machine, accepting payments from various card networks.
Despite the presence of card payments in the South Asian market for the past three decades, only 4 million shops currently accept them. In contrast, soundboxes have already made their mark in 8.5 million stores and are rapidly gaining popularity.
Paytm’s new soundbox, which is priced at 999 Indian rupees ($12), supports 11 languages and features a display and a powerful 2,600mAh battery that can last up to 5 days on a single charge.
Indian fintech startups are leveraging soundboxes as a convenient and efficient solution for digital transactions in retail settings, offering audible confirmation for payments and valuable insights into merchant behaviors.
The soundbox has become more than just a transactional device. Companies like Paytm and PhonePe now offer subscription plans to merchants, while also leveraging the data collected from soundbox usage to provide loans based on merchant cashflow and transaction history. This has caught the attention of banks, who previously overlooked the soundbox market due to a perceived lack of profitability.
Pine Labs, backed by Peak XV and Fidelity, has also entered the soundbox market by integrating an alert system into its new point-of-sale (POS) machine. The startup claims that its device costs only a third of traditional terminal machines.
In addition to Paytm and Pine Labs, PhonePe, a competitor to Paytm, has announced an update to its soundbox, allowing merchants to receive notifications in the voice of Bollywood legend, Amitabh Bachchan. Reliance, India’s largest firm, is also reportedly testing a soundbox at its campus.
Rishi Chhabra, VP and Head of Merchants Sales at Visa, commented on Paytm’s innovation, stating that the all-in-one soundbox will propel payments and consumer choice to the next level. Vijay Shekhar Sharma, founder and CEO of Paytm, emphasized the company’s commitment to solving small businesses’ payment and financial service problems through innovative solutions like the Paytm Card Soundbox.
By enhancing their soundbox offerings, fintech startups like Paytm are striving to provide merchants with a seamless, card acceptance experience similar to mobile payments, while also competing with point-of-sale machine providers such as Pine Labs and traditional banks.