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CityCash: Cash and the City

Vineet Toshniwal,Founder & CEO

Vineet Toshniwal

Founder & CEO

CityCash was founded in 2017 with the vision to make India ‘less cash’ by providing offline tap-to-pay based, secure payment solutions for small-value, high-volume transactions. The company is realizing this vision by carving a niche for itself using public transport as an anchor use case wherein nearly 100 percent transactions happen in cash. The CityCash team is deploying NFC smartcard technology with a disruptive business model to solve the pain points of bus corporations and their commuters alike. The company is now taking the next leap by leveraging its transit led consumer base to expand the payment instrument to other daily micropayments such as retail, groceries, eateries etal. Further, the founder of the company will explain CityCash’s unique business model in the digital payments space.

In conversation with Vineet Toshniwal, Founder & CEO, CityCash

Companies will need to be adept at providing a smooth and simple payment gateway in order to deliver a quality transaction mechanism for the customer. How does CityCash help payment service providers in achieving that?
In the present market, contactless payments let customers wave their smartphones across a reader or tap a credit card. Compared to swiping a reader or inserting a credit card, which takes longer, contactless payments are faster. However, all these payment methods are for large-value payments where merchant has to pay MDR (Merchant Discount Rate). As a result, they do not accept small-value payments like bus tickets, car parking and many more. We have created CityCash to make India cashless for everyone so that even small-values can be paid via card. We derived this idea from success stories of global

successful cards like London Oyster Card, Hong Kong Octopus card, and Singapore EZLink Card. These are offline stored value cards which are successfully running in all these countries around the world. So, as a Mumbai based company, we started this initiative with MSRTC (Maharashtra State Road Transport Corporation) where people can pay tickets by just tapping the smartcard on the bus conductor’s ETM (Electronic Ticketing Machine). It is an offline stored value model and we have our unique NFC based offline tap and pay solution.

CityCash is a fintech startup bringing offline payment solution using NFC enabled tap-to-pay technology with a unique business model leveraging public transportation as the anchor use case

Looking at the trend, it can be said that the payment industry is pushing the economy towards cashless. In that case, a number of innovations can be deployed in the cards and payments technology. How is CityCash trying to bring innovations in this domain?
Our company’s payment infrastructure is based on three pockets, first one is that it is a bus pass framework, which means it can be used as a bus pass too. Secondly, it is a travel wallet, wherein one can pay for bus tickets, whether small or large amounts. And, thirdly, it has a RBI approved PPI (Prepaid Payment Instrument) wallet. The card needs KYC (Know Your Customer), which can be done easily with the OTP method.

Further, we give a customer smart card servicing network. We have created a physical network of BC (Business Correspondent) agents, and we are a banking partner of Fino Payments Bank. So, we provide two ways to issue the card. First, the customer can issue the card from the bus station directly or can receive it through the physical BC network. Once the customer receives the card, he can recharge it by handing physical cash to the business correspondent.

Our business model innovation is that we are providing a zero-cost payments product to the bus corporations, doing

the entire deployment and integration without charge to them. Additionally, the bus corporations make significant savings in cost of cash handling and cash losses. We charge a nominal fee to the cardholders for using the card, and they, in turn, get a cashback from the bus corporation. So, the commuters are financially incentivized to travel by card instead of cash.

Share a success story that has earned significant attention for CityCash in the market.
CityCash has done a project with MSRTC (Maharashtra State Road Transport Corporation). The corporation has 40,000 buses and has a huge amount of turnover every year. MSRTC was facing lots of issues in terms of their cash management and handling paper passes to the consumer which is difficult to carry. We provided our cards which can be used for payment method as well as passes. We have integrated our software in all the ETMs of bus conductors so that all the details get automatically generated. The uniqueness of the product has given successful result and brought 26 lakhs registrations within 5 months. The same product can be replicated smoothly at other bus corporations in India and even other developing countries in south and south-east Asia where cash still rules transit and other micropayments.

Being a start-up in the financial technology sector it is required to stay alive in a highly competitive field. What future do you see for CityCash in this domain?
It is a semi-loop card as it is a travel wallet card along with a PPI license. But we want to go beyond this. We are approaching government payments like parking lots, tourism departments to provide loyalty wallet program for them too. Further, we are in the process of tying up with NPCI for the National Common Mobility Card (NCMC) and other bus corporations such as BMTC, auto & cab aggregators and Kirana stores or chemists. That’s our way forward and we are highly motivated to uniquely position ourselves in the competitive fintech space.

Current Issue
Evolution From Cash To Tap-To-Pay