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May 26, 2017

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Paytm set to increase Indian wallet service

Paytm, India's largest mobile wallet operator by user number, is on course to introduce a money market fund, a credit scoring system and other functions similar to the architecture of Alipay by 2020, its chief executive officer said.

The next step toward building an all-round financial services app is the imminent launch of a payments bank, which is awaiting regulatory clearance from the Indian central bank, said Vijay Shekhar, Paytm's founder and chief executive officer.

"No doubt we will have launched all that by 2020. This is in line with our goal of serving 500 million unbanked people in three years," Shekhar told a media briefing in Hangzhou, Zhejiang province.

Paytm is the first overseas Alipay-like payment system developed by Ant Financial Services Group. Capital injection and technology support from the Chinese fintech giant helped grow Paytm's user base from 30 million to 220 million within two years.

"Working with Ant Financial is like taking a hands-on MBA course, where I learned a number of exciting cases on cross-border transactions and risk controls," he said.

The development of Paytm Payments Bank will follow Ant Financial's own course in China, where the Chinese equivalent MyBank debuted two years ago with the objective of serving those not covered by the traditional banking system.

"The aim is to build a new business model in the banking industry, focused on bringing financial services to hundreds of millions of unserved or underserved Indians," he said, adding users cannot lend via the bank and are subject to a cap on money transfers.

India does not have an entrenched credit card culture, giving companies like Paytm the opportunity to educate users to jump from cash to mobile payments.

"The wave of demonetization accords with the Indian government's push to combat the black market, increase transparency and digitize the economy," said Girish Ramachandran, Asia-Pacific president of Tata Consultancy Services.

Paytm has ventured into the e-commerce arena through the creation of Paytm Mall, which is backed by Alibaba Group Holding Ltd.

Shekhar said e-commerce in India is still in its infancy, but Chinese majors can help build infrastructure and train merchants.

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