An interview with Ambarish Parekh, CEO of Paycraft

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Today we speak to Ambarish Parekh, CEO of Paycraft to understand how Paycraft is shaping the online payment industry through its innovative product offerings.

Read the complete interview:

TechGraph: How is Paycraft facilitating the entire payment process for Pune Metro?

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Ambarish Parekh: PayCraft is an end-to-end ticketing and payment solution provider for the Pune metro. We were tasked with building “One Mobile App”, and “Common Mobility Card” for commuters in Pune.

With this goal in mind, PayCraft has created a ticketing and payment product that will allow commuters to purchase tickets via: a) QR code: that conforms to C-DAC specifications for interoperability with multiple modes of transportation; and b) NCMC compliant card: that is based on NPCI specifications and can be used in the Pune metro or any other transit operator that adheres to NCMC standards. We are moving towards the objective of eliminating cash and bringing convenience to commuters by reducing their touchpoints before they finally travel.

The project has a couple of accolades already:

  • The first metro project in the country wherein the ticketing and payment system is 100% Swadeshi. This sector has been predominantly dominated by international players or by partnerships between domestic and international players. With the vision of our Hon. PM and ministries, today we stand tall with large international companies on whom we had to rely on in the past.
  • The first fully cashless kiosk with the capability of making payments via digital channels, including UPI. The Delhi metro was the first one in the country to introduce Ticket Vending Machines (TVM) that had options for making payments using cash or cards. Since then, digital payments have grown significantly, but the solution to bring all digital payments under one box was flawed. However, with Pune metro’s revolutionary vision, we are bringing in the change that will put us way ahead of time.

TechGraph: Can you help us with the plans and innovations that Paycraft is working on (from a tech perspective)?

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Ambarish Parekh: Here are a few plans and innovations that Paycraft is working on:

Enabling UPI Payments on Prepaid Cards

Paycraft is in the process of launching UPI payments via prepaid cards for its Fintech partners in line with the UPI to prepaid interoperability guidelines. This interoperability feature will be made available to all KYC-compliant PPIs.

This will be a game changer and allow the users/cardholders to easily tap into their prepaid payment instrument’s balances to make UPI payments to merchants. This will push a lot of small value/small ticket payments from cards to UPI, which will allow users to make payments where merchants don’t want to accept cards.

Roll Out of One Nation One Corporate card

The PayCraft ONE NATION ONE CORPORATE CARD is India’s only transit-enabled corporate tax benefit and reimbursement card. It is a single card that takes care of all employee tax benefit categories like meals, fuel, etc., and is backed seamlessly by PayCraft’s Business Expense Management Platform. This card also works seamlessly across all metros in India under the National Common Mobility Card Scheme.

PayCraft’s One Nation One Corporate Cards can be used for the following use cases:

Employee Tax Benefit (Meals, fuel, etc. an All-in-One Transit enabled Reloaded Tax Saving Instrument), Business Expenses, Payroll Cards for Gig Workers / Consultants, Corporate R&R, Salesforce / Employee / Dealer / Distributor / Respondent / Spot Incentivization, and Corporate Gift Cards for various occasions /events /campaign-based gifting.

Enabling cross-border remittance on UPI rails

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PayCraft’s UPI Remittance Platform will allow ex-pat/migrant workers and users to remit money in REAL TIME. The key benefits of this platform are as follows: Nominal costs of remittances and per transaction costs to users, Real-time Instant Remittance Platform using UPI, and Money can be transferred at any time with the click of a button.

TechGraph: How exactly does the technology work at Paycraft?

Ambarish Parekh: Paycraft has quickly established itself as a leading fintech provider of cutting-edge payment processing and end-to-end payment solutions. We have built domain expertise and deep insights to handle both offline and online payments on a single instrument. With its Form Factor Agonistic Issuance and acquiring platforms, Paycraft services a wide variety of new-age fintech and traditional payment ecosystems very seamlessly.

PayCraft works closely with leading banks like SBI, ICICI, AXIS, and HDFC to enable the digitalization of small ticket payments in the transit sector in India. It also works with corporations to digitize and manage their employees’ travel and business expenses.

All our platforms are proprietary and built in-house by a strong technology and development team. The Issuance, Acquiring, Automatic Fare Collection Systems and digital QR platforms, which power the digitalization of transit ticketing payments, are capable of handling both offline and online transactions and managing fungible balances seamlessly. PayCraft works closely with international card associations, including Master Card, VISA, Rupay, and Mercury, to develop and run unique payment use cases.

We currently manage approximately 70 million cards on its card issuance and management platforms for both prepaid and debit cards. PayCraft platforms have managed over 100 million EMV offline transactions in a short period, and working closely with various fintech and payment service providers in the UAE to power unique payment solutions in the region.

PayCraft provides its prepaid card issuance solution and corporate payments suite with its business expense management platform to users in the Gulf Region. PayCraft is actively looking to expand its existing footprint in the Gulf Region by partnering with various issuers to provide cutting-edge solutions to help users with small ticket size payments both online and offline for bus and metro services, along with retail payments.

We are also working closely with the fintech and banks in Africa to build the African Payments Stack. This will provide seamless payments to millions of unbanked and underbanked people with easy-to-use, intuitive payment solutions. The objective of providing these solutions to various players in Africa is to help them enable seamless digital payments for many first-time users and the under-banked.

Paycraft is creating seamless payment solutions focusing on the pain points of logistics operators and supply chain companies by providing an all-in-one card solution for truck drivers in the African market.

TechGraph: How is Paycraft utilizing its sectoral expertise and digitalization to solve the unsolved payment gap in the public transport sector?

Ambarish Parekh: As a pioneer of Offline Payments in India, We in association with SBI, HDFC, ICICI, and Axis Bank have implemented 12 projects in Metro and Bus Transit Ticketing.

Paycraft uses its in-house developed NCMC complaint Automatic Fare Collection System, Revenue Collection Systems consisting of Issuance and Acquiring Platforms, and QR Platform to implement the end-to-end solution for the public transport operator.

We have been able to bring a revolution in small ticket transit payments and were able to play a very dominant role in the hon PM’s vision of bringing a cashless ecosystem to all walks of life. Our domain expertise and a strong technical team ensure that we are the only Company that can implement the end-to-end solution for Transit ticketing.

PayCraft’s consistent efforts around transit payments have resulted in the creation of ground-breaking new products and services that not only allows for the digitization of existing solutions on a very large scale but also allow for world-class technology implementation. This lowers operating costs, reduce human error, increases automation and productivity, reduces reliance on cash, and creates an accountable and transparent ecosystem.

TechGraph: What are the new products in the pipeline?

Ambarish Parekh: One Nation, One Corporate Card
PayCraft will be launching its One Nation, One Corporate Card in September. The PayCraft ONE NATION ONE CORPORATE CARD is India’s only transit-enabled corporate tax benefit and reimbursement card. It is a single card that takes care of all employee tax benefit categories like meals, fuel, etc., and is backed seamlessly by PayCraft’s Business

Expense Management Platform: This card also works seamlessly across all metros in India under the National Common Mobility Card Scheme.

The International Forex Card: Carrying a travel card rather than hard cash for a foreign trip is far safer and much cheaper, as it safeguards against currency fluctuation, heavy currency conversion, and markup rates charged usually on credit or debit cards.

PayCraft Multi-currency travel cards offer multi-currency usage, ATM withdrawal, POS, and ECOM/online payment along with card reload facilities through the partner issuing entity through convenient channels (app/web portal/through counters).

PayCraft’s multi-currency travel cards function like any other credit or debit card, and the pre-loaded currency would automatically be deducted against an authorized transaction by detecting the currency type and region of the transaction.

The collection of currency balances together forms the “FX Wallet”, a single dynamic payment product that offers the ability to transact and, more crucially, settle in multiple wallet currencies.

The issuer can control your multi-FX program using Paycraft’s Real-Time Data Feed (External Host Interface). This gives you direct access to real-time transaction data that can truly differentiate your program and user experience.

WPS Card for UAE Region: PayCraft has developed customized solutions by the guidelines set by the Central Bank of the UAE and the Ministry of Labour to revolutionize the process of digitizing payroll card processing systems in the UAE with the introduction of WPS payroll cards.

The WPS is an electronic salary transfer system that enables organizations in the private sector to pay employees’ wages through contracted banks, exchange houses, or any other financial institution approved and authorized by the Central Bank of the UAE.

Krishna Mali
Krishna Mali
Founder & Editor of TechGraph.

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