India Meal Vouchers Go Digital: Paytm, Zeta Launch Electronic Alternatives
Competition in the corporate meal voucher market in India is heating up as providers are launching alternatives to paper vouchers, which the Reserve Bank of India will no longer allow beyond 2017. Among them is online commerce platform Paytm and electronic payments provider Zeta.
With the addition of Food Wallet to Paytm’s app, employees receive a tax-free food allowance and employers can transfer money in seconds to the e-wallet daily, monthly or quarterly, according to an April 14 announcement on the company’s blog. In addition to office cafeterias, the wallet can be used at many restaurants, including KFC, Burger King and Pizza Hut. To pay, wallet users open the app to display a QR code. The wallet records all transactions and provides users with coupons and cash-back offers.
The biggest incentive for companies using Food Wallet is convenience, according to Kiran Vasireddy, Paytm senior vice president. “Employers can use their laptops to instantly transfer money to food wallets of employees based anywhere in the country without any hassles of procuring, handling and distributing bulky coupons and cards,” Vasireddy told The Economic Times.
Competing with Paytm, along with well-established meal voucher providers Sodexo and Ticket Restaurant, is Zeta, which announced earlier this month it’s offering paperless meal vouchers on India’s RuPay national payments network. The deal marks the first time a company has offered digital employee benefits with the National Payments Corporation of India, an umbrella organization for all retail payment systems in the country, according to Zeta’s blog. The company offers several ways to pay: an app, a Mastercard-branded Super Card prepaid card and a NFC-enabled Super Tag.
“The combined offering of Zeta, RBL [Bank] and RuPay is built with a sharp focus on enhancing user experience and is aimed at accelerating the cashless movement using technologies made in India, for India,” said Ramki Gaddipati, Zeta co-founder and chief technology officer. “Joining the RuPay platform will further strengthen Zeta’s payment network and will also help us reach corporates … with employees based in remote areas.”
RBI’s ban on paper vouchers is part of India’s efforts to move toward electronic payments and increase financial inclusion.