Another Square Competitor Announced, This Time in India
January 24, 2013
Citibank India is trying to further explore Indian card market opportunities by creating a Square-like solution for the local merchants.
The Reserve Bank of India-approved, PCI-compliant system will let merchants using an Android-based handset, dongle and mobile app accept payments from the country's 320 million cardholders.
Several retailers, including Flipkart, Shoppers Stop, Bajaj Allianz, Vodafone and BookMyShowm have signed up to the technology, which Citi says can be simply integrated into their back-end systems and customised to meet specific needs.
India is a country where small merchants dominate the landscape and large retailers account for less than 10% of total retail sales in the country. Cheap mobile card acceptance products like Square have a lot of potential in India where mobile penetration and mobile Internet access are quickly growing.
And numerous Square-like solutions are being offered in other countries both developed and developing. For example, China UnionPay also has its own similar product in China.
But the solutions still have a long way to go. Costs and telecom infrastructure are major reasons why many small merchants have yet to accept cards. But there are other important factors such as tax evasion, training, services, or just habits which are not easy tasks to handle either.