ezetap, mobile payments

Ezetap Brings Mobile Payments to Rural India

November 19, 2014         By: Steven Anderson

There’s one fairly universal constant when it comes to most technological development: it starts urban, and it works its way outward.

Consider the idea of rural broadband; in a time when Internet access is nearly ubiquitous in the cities and suburbs of the world, the countryside is still languishing under low-end connections, if any are even available in the first place.

Mobile payments are a similar matter, depending on the infrastructures and marketplaces of urban environments to carry on. But one startup, Ezetap, looks to bring this largely urban tool to the countryside… particularly, the Indian countryside.

Ezetap has been around for just three years, and operates out of Bangalore, so it’s not surprising to see the company take an interest in this large and largely untapped market. Ezetap—who has quite a bit of support from major names like PayPal founder Peter Thiel—is offering a little something unusual to the region: a mobile point of sale (mPoS) system that’s not only cost-effective, but also secure, having a substantial infrastructure behind it.

It’s Citibank’s first mPOS system that’s approved globally, and it’s also said to be the preferred mPOS system of Visa for regions outside the United States and Europe.

With Ezetap, those formerly unable to get in on much of the mobile payment market suddenly can claim access to things like banking, insurance and even regular online shopping, essentially turning any mobile device capable of running Ezetap into what amounts to a mobile payment terminal.  This allows users in turn to keep money in a more standard bank account while removing the requirement of having to actually go to that bank account’s physical location—which can be a ten mile slog or so—to find an ATM.

There are few developments quite so exciting as those that bring previously unavailable services to regions where said services were unavailable. These developments unlock a lot of new potential, and drive the possibility of future improvement.

As a counterpoint, some believe that bringing such services to underserved markets is a waste of development—and why not? After all, these markets are underserved for a reason, and such markets don’t often have a lot of users therein to make it worth the expansion. Why, after all, would anyone want to spend a huge amount of cash bringing services to a region where it might take ten years or more to recoup the investment, let alone make a profit?

But for those companies that can offer the service, and at reduced costs, the time to repayment might be much less, and at the same time, the company that actually releases the service is building brand loyalty in the process, a development that’s hard to pass up by any standard.

Only time will tell just how well Ezetap works in this environment, but in all likelihood it’s about to make some friends and influence some people, a positive development for a developing market.