Asia Editor's Choice Spotlight

Pine Labs: COVID-19 Has Accelerated the Digital Process for Merchants in India

India’s digital payments industry is expected to grow three-folds to ₹7,092 trillion by 2025, as per a RedSeer Consulting projection. For a country of over a billion, the recent acceleration in digital payments initiatives from the government, regulator, and the fintech companies is truly commendable.

The ongoing pandemic has managed to further accelerate the pace of digital payments adoption in India, primarily driven by changing consumer behaviour where there is now more emphasis on physical distancing and therefore contactless payment solutions. Here Nitish Asthana, President and COO of Pine Labs, explains more.

Getting to a billion users

Today, with over 560 million smartphone users, India has surpassed the US and is one of the fastest-growing markets for digital consumers. The onset of COVID-19 provided the much-needed impetus to the digital payments ecosystem and caused a surge in the number of consumers who are now using digital payments.

Getting to a billion smartphone users quickly will present an incredible opportunity to widen the digital payment ecosystem and that will only happen once the stakeholders start building trust among consumers through the development of secure fintech products, innovate to solve merchant problems, and simplify the experience for the end-users.

Democratising fintech for innovative outcomes

The mega-success of Chrome browsers and the MySQLs of the world leaves no doubt that there is merit in collaboration and opening proprietary technology to the outside world therefore yields innovative outcomes. At Pine Labs, our open APIs are a testament to our commitment to collaborate and our focus to deliver the best digital products to the merchant community at large. With COVID-19 changing the narrative and creating a conducive environment, now is the time to come good on products of value for small merchants in India.

Regulatory thrust

India’s stable political environment and the incumbent government’s vision of achieving a truly cashless economy is a boon for the digital payments sector. The prevailing positive sentiment towards digitisation has resulted in greater awareness among small merchants and favourable policies have incentivised consumers and merchants alike and encouraged them to adopt digital payment solutions. Reserve Bank of India (RBI), the banking regulator in India, has also taken some groundbreaking initiatives such as setting up the Payments Infrastructure Development Fund (PIDF) to subsidise deployment of payment acceptance infrastructure, especially in northeastern states and Tier-3 to Tier-6 cities. We believe this will positively impact smaller merchants in these regions who are looking to jump on the digital payment bandwagon post-COVID-19 and grow their business in the process.

Today, fintech companies are coming up with innovative solutions by delivering value to small merchants and encouraging digital payments adoption from both consumer and merchant perspective. Many of our merchant partners now are using the Pay Later EMIs quickly activated through our PoS terminals to woo customers back in the stores and drive sales. We are also witnessing a significant rise in ‘scan and pay’ QR code and ‘tap and pay’ modes of digital payments which end up cutting down the transaction time and are completely contactless and preferred in the new normal. I feel innovation around fintech is the need of the hour to bridge the digital divide and make India move faster towards becoming a less cash-reliant country.


  • Gina is a fintech journalist (BA, MA) who works across broadcast and print. She has written for most national newspapers and started her career in BBC local radio.

Related posts

Meet the finalists of the App Factor – the competition that brings your mobile idea to life 

Manisha Patel

Green Fintech MVGX Establishes Carbon SaaS Subsidiary as ‘Demand for Sustainability Intensifies’

Tom Bleach

TrueMoney Partners With Thunes To Expand Its Global Remittance Services

Mark Walker