Over 63% of women in Bharat are seeking entrepreneurial avenues: PayNearby Women Financial Index

The fourth edition of the report gives a detailed analysis of financial consumption by women at retail stores in 2023-24.

  • 45% of women report availing benefits from government-backed schemes.
  • 85% of them have limited or no access to recurring income source
  • 48% of women prefer dealing in cash, followed by UPI QR and cards, with over 95% of women preferring AePS for cash withdrawal.
  • 71% of women exhibit a higher inclination towards short-term investments.
  • Insurance awareness among women grew to 29%, but consumption is only 2%.
  • 70% of women hold savings accounts, and 68% of women indicate a willingness to take formal credit

Mumbai, March 06, 2024: PayNearby, India’s leading branchless banking and digital network with over 50 Lac retail touchpoints, reveals that over 63% of women in Bharat aspire to start their own business, reflecting a strong desire for financial independence and self-reliance. This insight was shared as part of a Pan-India survey report titled “PayNearby Women Financial Index (PWFI),” showcasing financial consumption by women at retail stores. The survey was conducted by the company among over 5,000 retail stores in the country recording financial transactions of women consumers as observed in those outlets.

The report highlights the preference for biometric authentication, with over 95% of female customers opting for AePS for cash withdrawal. While cash remains the favored mode of transaction, with 48% of women favoring it, Aadhaar-led transactions and UPI QR codes are gaining momentum in double digits. Cards continue to have a minimal presence in this segment. Notably, women aged 18-30, followed by 31-40, are the most digitally adept, showing a strong inclination towards financial transactions. Interestingly, 41% of women mentioned that they do not use any payment app on their phones.

Cash withdrawal, mobile recharges, and bill payments emerge as the top three services availed by women at PayNearby retail outlets. The most common withdrawal range falls between ₹1000-2500, while EMI payments typically range from ₹500-1000. The report reveals that 70% of women hold Jan-Dhan savings accounts primarily used for cash withdrawals. More than 25% of women admitted to their husbands managing their bank accounts instead of themselves.

Among the top three saving goals, ‘child education’ topped the list, followed by ‘medical emergency’ and ‘buying household electronic items’. 54% of women indicated ₹750-1000 as their preferred range for monthly savings, highlighting their approach towards financial planning. Notably, only 27% of the respondents preferred to save above ₹1500 to accrue a corpus in the long run. 71% of women exhibited a higher inclination towards short-term investments, with savings tenure between 3-5 years. The report observes a marginal but noteworthy trend towards investment diversification, particularly in recurring and fixed goal-based deposits. This suggests an increasing awareness among women regarding alternative investment avenues, reflecting a growing interest in financial management and wealth creation.

Interestingly, 74% of women rely on their family members when making investment decisions, whereas 11% seek guidance from financial advisors. The financial advisors were typically women influences in their affinity. The survey also revealed that 16% of women were extremely aware, and 55% were moderately aware of various government schemes and initiatives related to financial well-being. Impressively, 45% of women report availing benefits from government-backed initiatives indicating a growing number of women availing these schemes.

Despite growing awareness of insurance products among women (29%), consumption remains low at 2%. 45% of women report benefiting from government-backed schemes. The survey indicates a willingness among 68% of women to take formal credit, emphasizing the need for affordable credit solutions. Women cited emergency expenses like medical bills, home repairs, and children’s education or for agricultural needs such as buying seeds, fertilizers, or equipment as reasons to avail credit.

The PWFI report also highlights the increasing adoption of online commerce (24%) and online entertainment (18%) among women. Online commerce saw a decent adoption among women at retail stores with daily groceries & household items (at 27%) being the most commonly ordered category. This was followed by clothing & accessories and home & kitchen items at 24% and 23%, respectively. It ratifies the fact that women at the last mile are aspirational and validates the latent demand for such services among them. Travel bookings and PAN card issuance have seen significant uptake, with 96% of the respondents showed a willingness to book a rail ticket from their nearby store. This showcases women’s desire to become self-reliant and financially included.

Commenting on the findings, Anand Kumar Bajaj, Founder, MD & CEO, PayNearby, said, “It is delightful to see that women in Bharat are asserting their entrepreneurial spirit more than ever with over 63% seeking avenues for income augmentation. In the journey towards a nation’s development, women should be equal stakeholders. At PayNearby, we recognize women as the GDP reserve of our nation, wielding the power to drive social and economic change. As an institution, we are aligned with the government’s shift from women development to women-led development.”

“The increasing adoption of newer services such as e-commerce, mutual funds, and fixed deposits signifies a promising trend in rural areas, where women are gearing up to engage in formal economic activities. We aim to empower women with greater autonomy over their savings, investments, and other crucial aspects. Sashakt Naari, Sashakt Desh,” Bajaj added.

Jayatri Dasgupta, CMO, PayNearby, said, “Bharat stands on the threshold of a profound digital transformation. Yet, to fully unlock its potential, we must equip our women with the tools necessary to integrate seamlessly into this rapidly evolving digital landscape. With the launch of our fourth edition of PWFI, we undertake a comprehensive assessment of our progress and chalk out the roadmap to make women equal participants in Bharat’s growth journey.”

With our recently launched Digital Naari initiative, we are providing additional income opportunities for women at the last mile, enabling them to provide financial and digital access to their communities at their convenience of time, location (from home/store), and product preferences. Our aim is to create a women-led development that breaks down technological and financial barriers and creates a more equitable society”, Dasgupta added.

© 2024 Nearby Technologies Private Limited. All rights reserved.

PayNearby launches Digital Naari platform to generate sustainable self-employment for women across Bharat

PayNearby, India’s leading branchless banking and digital network has unveiled the Digital Naari platform that aims to generate long-term self-employment for women across Bharat. This program is designed to provide additional income generation opportunities for women in rural and semi-urban areas, recognising their pivotal role as equal contributors in the nation’s growth.

Aligned with the Government’s ‘Lakhpati Didi’ initiative, the platform seeks to onboard and uplift 1 lakh women by the end of 2025, facilitating their economic empowerment. The goal is to help women business owners, single women, and women with literacy challenges to have sustainable livelihood opportunity while enhancing their financial well-being and fostering self-reliance.

Through our Digital Naari platform, the uplifted banker didi can provide a diverse range of financial and digital services to the masses. The banker didi will have the flexibility to offer services at her convenience in terms of time, location (from home/store), and product preferences. Catering to the needs of rural women, the services include cash withdrawal, bank account opening, money transfer, recharge, assurance (insurance + assets), credit, and e-commerce, facilitating their path to financial literacy and financial independence.

Currently, PayNearby has a strong network of over 10,000+ women collectively steering more than INR 1000 crores of transaction annually. The Digital Naari platform aims to broaden this network by partnering with organizations, self-help groups, and individuals dedicated to promoting sustainable livelihood among rural women.

Commenting on the launch, Mr. Anand Kumar Bajaj, Founder, MD & CEO, PayNearby, said, “In the journey of a nation’s progress, true advancement is achieved when women stand as equal contributors. At PayNearby, we recognize women as the GDP reserve of our nation, wielding the power to drive social and economic change. It is our privilege to participate in the ‘Lakhpati Didi’ initiative, dedicated to unleashing their potential and contributing to a sustainable future. Our collaborations with various livelihood missions, including Uttar Pradesh State Rural Livelihood Mission (UPSRLM), Rajasthan Grameen Aajeevika Vikas Parishad (Rajeevika), Grameen Foundation India, are propelling countless women towards economic independence and societal recognition through our Digital Naari app. We extend an open invitation to like-minded institutions and self-help groups to join us in maximizing the reach of this initiative and empowering women.”

Jayatri Dasgupta, CMO, PayNearby, stated, “Launching the Digital Naari platform marks a crucial stride in fostering economic empowerment for women across Bharat. We believe that economic empowerment is key to women’s self-reliance and their transformative journey. With ‘Digital Naari’ program we are sowing the seeds of strength, resilience, and self-reliance across the nation by giving every woman in the country a sustainable livelihood and an opportunity to lead life at her own terms. Sashakt Naari, Sashakt Desh.”

About PayNearby:

Incepted in April 2016, PayNearby is India’s leading branchless banking and digital network. PayNearby operates on a B2B2C model, where it partners with neighbourhood retail stores and enables them with the tools to provide digital and financial services to local communities. PayNearby’s mission is to make financial services available to everyone, everywhere. The company aims to simplify high-end technology so that it can be easily assimilated at the last mile while transforming the lives of its retail partners and customers.

Today, PayNearby, through its tech-led DaaS (Distribution as a Service) network, serves 75% of India and is enabling services like cash withdrawal, remittance, aadhaar banking, bill payment and recharges, savings, travel, digital payments, insurance and more. Currently, PayNearby’s 50 lakh plus microentrepreneurs across 20,000+ PIN codes assist 30+ crore customers across the country to the tune of more than ~8000 crores GTV per month.

To download the App, please click: Digital Naari App Link

Launch Video: https://youtu.be/Qq2tBhfeudo

PayNearby, Star Health Join Forces to Provide Health Cover to Uninsured and Under-Served Across Bharat

Initiative to facilitate citizens at the last mile with affordable insurance options and increase insurance penetration in the country largely covering semi-urban and rural India

Mumbai, 04 January, 2024: PayNearby, India’s leading branchless banking and digital network and Star Health and Allied Insurance, one of India’s leading health insurance specialists, entered into a strategic partnership to make health insurance coverage more accessible and affordable across the country, especially among its semi-urban and rural population. The strategic alliance will be instrumental in insuring millions of uninsured across the country through PayNearby’s million+ active Distribution-as-a-Service (DaaS) network, by bringing Star Health’s curated insurance products to local retail stores.

For health insurance to reach Bharat, it requires an innovative approach that offers affordable coverage, is easily accessible and eliminates the need for excessive paperwork. With the Star Health-PayNearby partnership, customers will now be able to conveniently buy tailored insurance offerings at their nearest retail store, assisted by their trusted local retailers. Through PayNearby’s robust DaaS network across 22,000+ PIN Codes, customers will gain seamless access to a variety of innovative bite-sized health insurance products from Star Health, including Group Personal Accident and HospiCash policies. PayNearby partnered retailers will handhold customers throughout the buying journey, ensuring instant and hassle-free issuance. Star Health’s convenient claims process, valued added offerings like free telemedicine consultations with expert doctors, personalized wellness programs and free annual health checkups will enhance the insurance experience.

Commenting on the partnership, Anand Kumar Bajaj, Founder, MD & CEO, PayNearby said, “For India to be truly progressive, there is an urgent need to scale simplified health insurance services for the masses as it improves access to quality healthcare services for all. However, as per the recent PayNearby Bharat Health Index (BHI) 2023 report, the level of insurance awareness among Bharat’s last mile is abysmally low. 55% have never heard of insurance, and among those aware of insurance, only 32% had taken some form of insurance in their lifetime. Additionally, a substantial 38% cited affordability as a major hindrance, while 36% did not know where to buy insurance from. Regarding health coverage, 32% mentioned limited availability of health insurers and lack of information as the primary challenge, closely followed by high premiums and complex documentation processes. These numbers, while worrisome, present an opportunity too. An opportunity to use technology to find breakthroughs in product democratisation and distribution so that every citizen is safe from the uncertainties of life.

For insurance to gain inroads in Bharat, it needs to be easy to understand and easy to consume. Our partnership with Star Health solidifies our commitment to making quality health coverage more economical and available to everyone, everywhere. Together, we are taking the much-needed action required for better insurance penetration in the country and ensuring that people perceive insurance in the right light for a safer, better future for themselves and their families. Also, aiding this initiative will be our Health Correspondents, who will help spread health insurance awareness, ensure its last mile reach and help insure the uninsured. Zidd Aage Badhne Ki.”

Chitti Babu, Chief Innovation Officer, Star Health, said, “At Star Health, we believe that today, health insurance has become a basic necessity along with food, water and shelter. This belief drives our endeavor to insure every individual, regardless of their location, enabling them to gain access to quality healthcare irrespective of their societal strata. Our collaboration with PayNearby, given their strong presence and deep networks in rural and non-metro regions of India, is another step in this direction, enabling us to offer bite-sized health insurance covers to all. This partnership will play a crucial role in insuring the under-served population in Bharat.”

For more information, please visit www.paynearby.in

UPI transactions witnesses 118% rise at retail stores in 2023: PayNearby Report

Assisted e-commerce (meta commerce) grows by 91% in semi urban and rural counters

PayNearby releases detailed analysis on ‘assisted digital transactions’ FY23, in its third Pan-India report titled – Retail-O-Nomics

  • Insurance policy purchase and insurance premium collection saw a massive 150% growth in transaction and 140% in customer adoption
  • PAN Card issuance services have seen a steep growth of 437%
  • During PM-Kisan Samman Nidhi fund release, cash withdrawal on an average grew by 36% as compared to the rest of the year
  • Amongst credit products, personal loan and gold loan, saw good adoption at the last mile, crossing seven-figure mark in disbursements within few months of launch
  • Bill payments service at local stores witnessed an increase of 74% in value and 39% in volume

Mumbai, 19th December, 2023: PayNearby, India’s largest branchless banking and digital network, today released data report ‘Retail-O-Nomics’. It highlights Unified Payments Interface (UPI) transactions saw a 118% and 106% increase in volume and value respectively at semi-urban and rural stores, representing the growing adoption of UPI beyond Tier II regions in the country. In addition, mPOS (Mobile Point of Sale) acceptance too witnessed a growth of 5% in value, emphasising the increasing adoption of cutting-edge technology among small merchants.

Insurance policy purchases and premium collections surged by 150% in transaction volume and 140% in new customer adoption, underlining the role of digital retail stores in addressing the challenges of insurance penetration in Bharat, and their gradual evolution into multi-utility centres for citizens.

The insights are part of the third edition of the Pan-India report titled ‘Retail-O-Nomics’ released by PayNearby. The report has been prepared based on transactions conducted across a million-plus PayNearby retail touchpoints, consisting of kirana stores, mobile recharge stores, medical shops, customer service points (CSPs), travel agents, etc. throughout the country. The findings compare business data from January to November 2023 with the same period in the year 2022.

As per the report, the nationwide new registered retailer count increased by 9%, underscoring the eagerness of the retail community to participate in India’s growth story by facilitating assisted financial and digital transactions at nearby stores. Overall, transactions grew by 10% both in volume and value. The transactions include not only banking and financial services, but also digital services like utility payment, cash collection, credit, insurance, assisted commerce and more, indicating a significant behavioral shift among consumers in these regions towards assisted digital methods for their banking and lifestyle needs, contributing to their integration into the formal economy.

In 2023, Micro ATM and AePS cash withdrawals, pivotal for rural and semi-urban digital counters, fell short of expected growth. However, MATM device demand remained robust, marking a 17% surge in purchases compared to last year. Although transaction volume decreased, the average cash withdrawal per transaction grew slightly from ₹2595 in 2022 to ₹2624 in 2023. Notably, AePS withdrawals surged consistently by 30-40% during DBT releases, notably during PM Kisan Yojana credits, as compared with the rest of the year.

The report also highlights a staggering 65% surge in cash collection at retail counters, reflecting soaring demand for credit and financial solutions nationwide. With an average monthly collection of ₹1,700 crores, the company witnessed heightened demand across various processes, including a remarkable 25% surge in EMI collections for NBFCs, MFIs, and Small Finance Banks. This uptick in EMI collections signifies a rising awareness and interest in credit and financial offerings at the grassroots level. Additionally, positive growth in subscriptions for OTTs, online education, and online gaming underlines a latent demand for digital services, indicating Bharat’s growing affinity towards digital products.

Amongst credit products, business, personal, and gold loans gained rapid traction, surpassing a seven-figure mark in loan disbursement. Impressively, 21% of applicants were new to credit (NTC), reflecting a growing trend. The average age of 28-30 highlights a dynamic, youthful entrepreneurial base. These loans, catering to SMEs’ working capital and individual lifestyle upgrades, underscore the urgent need for scalable, affordable credit solutions for India’s unhindered progress.

The assisted e-commerce segment, meta-commerce emerged as another significant highlight this year, with a network of ~40,000 retailers actively engaged in providing e-commerce services.  Particularly noteworthy is the substantial traction of the Branded Shop category, featuring top brands across consumer electronics, mobile accessories, kitchen appliances and more. Popular categories in the ecommerce portfolio include grocery, grooming, toys, and healthcare products. The average ticket size in the branded shop category was ₹3,184, while for the rest of the ecommerce portfolio, it was ₹1,586.

FY 2023 saw a surge in re-banking at retail counters, opening 175,000 new current and savings accounts. The report highlights a robust 202% growth in account balances compared to last year.

Commenting on the report findings, Anand Kumar Bajaj, Founder, MD & CEO, PayNearby, said, “Embracing rural India’s pulse, Retail-O-Nomics depicts a narrative where hinterlands not only keep pace with urban areas but actively integrate into the formal economy. The surge in GTV results from not only the growth in traditional banking and ATM services but also the adoption of products like UPI and MPOS, NTC credit solutions, insurance, e-commerce and more. Despite this, there’s still a huge untapped market needing the right product, pricing, and distribution for easier adoption. This report aims to catalyse dialogues and implement measures for widespread financial and digital service accessibility, especially in Tier II and beyond. Committed to this vision, we empower retailers and consumers through user-friendly solutions, focusing on technology simplification and democratization via our Distribution-as-a-Service network.

A case in point is the introduction of assisted ecommerce in our network. With this service, rural aspirational customers are getting the choicest products at a nearby store, retailers are seeing enhanced income, and e-commerce partners are not only reaching new markets, but seeing reduced returns rates, optimizing overall business costs. In fact, return rates through meta commerce are nearly 1/3rd of the standard return rate witnessed by B2C ecommerce platforms, highlighting the significant role played by human interventions at retail counters in the overall consumer experience.”

Bill payments spiked by 74% in value and 39% in volume, while mobile recharge grew by 3%. Assisted Income Tax Return (ITR) services rose by 4%. Travel bookings maintained an 8% growth in flights and 6% in rail bookings during festivals. New PAN Card issuance and corrections skyrocketed by 437%. Notably, 41% of banking transactions occurred from 3.00 pm to 9.00 pm, highlighting retail outlets’ crucial role in meeting banking and digital needs, especially within the PayNearby network.

For more information, please visit: www.paynearby.in

Meta-commerce platform PayNearby Mall witnesses less than 10% Return on delivery, one-third that of traditional online shopping

Human intelligence in terms of retailer assist at last mile optimizing purchase process

Mumbai, 09th October, 2023: PayNearby, India’s largest branchless banking and digital network, announced that its meta-commerce platform – PayNearby Mall, has registered exceptionally low return rates, helping its partner brands optimise costs. The platform which enables easy availability of goods and services in an assisted mode at the last mile has generated a return rate of ~10% when the average rate typically ranges between 20-30%.

In the last six months, over ~25,000+ retailers have enthusiastically embraced the platform. Interestingly, when compared to the urban and metro areas, where e-commerce penetration is high, PayNearby Mall registered a 46% GTV in rural regions, closely tailed by semi-urban areas, with 45%. This shift in consumer behaviour suggests that rural India is increasingly embracing the e-commerce revolution and is as aspirational as its urban counterpart. The most sought-after categories include grocery at 35%, followed by mobile and accessories and cloths at 14% and 9% respectively.

In the e-commerce industry, returns frequently arise from prevalent issues such as impulsive purchases, inaccurate item selection, or unmet customer expectations. However, a substantial number of product returns can significantly impact the financial performance of e-commerce operations. Each returned item incurs expenses associated with processing, restocking, and potential damages, increasing operational costs and logistical complexities. It erodes the profit margins significantly. PayNearby Mall’s innovative assisted meta-commerce model, which blends the convenience of digital commerce with the personal touch of PayNearby retailers, allows partner brands to optimise the costs associated with processing returns.

In areas where e-commerce adoption is low, PayNearby Mall allows partners to bring their products at neighbourhood stores. Customers can walk into these nearby stores and with the help of the local retailer access products on an aggregated e-platform of 100+ partner sites, and shop easily for the products they need. The personalised approach of this unique model helps customers make the right decision and buy the right products, reducing the likelihood of returns due to impulsive buying or incorrect item selection. It results in enhanced cost efficiency for e-commerce players, preserving profit margins and contributing to their overall financial sustainability.

Speaking on the development, Anand Kumar Bajaj, Founder, MD & CEO, PayNearby, said, “E-commerce has transformed how people shop. But with it comes the challenge of returns. Studies show that 54% of buyers consider free returns as one of the biggest factors influencing their buying decisions. However, high return rates often impact the financials, customer satisfaction, and overall operational efficiency of businesses. PayNearby Mall’s low return rate underscores the effectiveness of our approach. On one hand, our meta-commerce model empowers rural consumers by bringing the products they want within their reach. On the other hand, with our retailers offering the human touch in helping customers make informed decisions, our e-commerce partners are seeing reduced returns rates, optimised costs and increased revenue.”

PayNearby and Grameen Foundation India Collaborate to upskill 150,000 Rural Business Correspondents and Generate Employment Opportunities for Women and Youth

The partnership aims to serve more than 6,00,000 customers with banking and beyond services

  • Make rural Business Correspondents and women catalysts of change in their communities by upskilling them as financial and digital counters
  • Onboard 15,000+ women business correspondents and provide them with sustainable self-employment
  • Upskill business correspondents to generate additional income beyond their regular cash-in and cash-out services, and make them viable change agents for long term impact

Mumbai, 04 September 2023: India’s leading branchless banking and digital network, PayNearby, today announced that it has collaborated with Grameen Foundation for Social Impact (GFSI), a leading non-profit organisation dedicated to uplifting underserved communities, to upskill 150,000 business correspondents (BCs) across Indian hinterland and upgrade them to provide digital and financial services beyond cash-in/cash-out to the underserved and tech-shy last mile population. This will strengthen rural BC counters with long term viable business solutions and make them sustainable change agents at the grass root level. The partnership will also work towards providing employment opportunities to the women and youth of Bharat.

As part of this collaboration, PayNearby and Grameen Foundation for Social Impact will launch a pan-India scale-up project titled ‘Scaling Agent Viability and Quality in India’ supported by the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation (BMGF). The initiative will be completed over the span of next two years. It marks a significant step towards amplifying the impact of BCs’ in enhancing financial accessibility across the country, by expanding their financial product offerings beyond traditional cash-in and cash-out services. Expanded product suite will increase customer retention and empower these correspondents to generate supplementary income streams.

This collaboration between PayNearby and GFSI is not only a strategic step in expanding financial accessibility but also a crucial initiative for empowering women within the financial sector. This initiative places a strong emphasis on skill enhancement among BCs and also gender sensitivity. By offering the necessary skills, knowledge, and support, this initiative will foster increased opportunities for both rural BC counters and women’s professional growth and financial empowerment. The goal is to enlist 15,000 female BC agents, thereby promoting gender inclusivity within this sector.

Under this initiative, GFSI will leverage PayNearby’s Distribution-as-a-Service network and expertise to streamline operations and enable BCs to offer a diverse range of sachetised and tailored digital and financial solutions across domains such as, commerce, education, entertainment, credit management, insurance and more. In addition to right capacity building, PayNearby will invest in awareness and upskilling of this network to seamlessly enable multiple digital and financial services through local counters. BCs will be made aware of the financial advantage of a diversified product portfolio, and how more loyalty and value per customer can be derived through that.

Speaking on the development, Anand Kumar Bajaj, Founder, MD & CEO, PayNearby, said, “In the dynamic landscape of Bharat, achieving mass transformation necessitates mass mobilisation, and the formidable BC network is ideally positioned to embrace this challenge. BCs have been playing a crucial role in bridging the financial and digital gap at the last mile.

We are extremely honoured to work with Grameen Foundation for Social Impact to upskill BC network and make them viable multi-service counters, beyond cash-in/cash-out services. This is critical not only for the long-term financial viability of rural BC counters, but also the overall growth of communities at the grass root level. A diversified product portfolio will not only drive more value per footfall, but also enhance customer loyalty and retention.”

Alok Kumar Jha, Chief Strategic Initiatives Officer, PayNearby further adds, “We are extremely honoured to be a facilitator for empowerment of women BCs, who are the drivers of rural progress. This collaboration echoes our commitment towards our Sashakt Naari, Sashakt Samaaj, Sashakt Desh mission. Through this, we aim to not only provide sustainable self-employment to Women BC Sakhis, but also ensure more women from Bharat’s hinterland are brought into the formal financial fold through them, thus bridging the gender gap at the last mile.”

Arindam Dasgupta, Director – Innovations In Digital Finance, Grameen Foundation for Social Impact, said, “With the support of the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation (BMGF), we are delighted to embark on this impactful collaboration with PayNearby. Our shared vision to drive financial inclusion and enhance women’s empowerment is at the heart of this partnership. By leveraging our combined strengths, we aim to drive meaningful change by enhancing agent quality, expanding product accessibility, and fostering a more inclusive financial landscape. Together, we are charting a path toward a brighter and more empowered future for all.

The collaboration is underpinned by a shared commitment to enhance women’s capacity to shape and thrive in a more connected business environment, demonstrating the benefits of inclusive development, women’s economic empowerment, and fostering participation from all key stakeholders.”

Bharat spends an average of 15-20% of household income on medical expenses: PayNearby Study

On the occasion of India’s 76th Independence Day, PayNearby releases its first edition of ‘Bharat Health Index’ – a study of healthcare awareness in Bharat

  • 15-20% of yearly income spent on medical expenses in Bharat households
  • 55% of those surveyed have never heard of insurance
  • 70% did not have a health insurance cover
  • 23% relied on informal loans or borrowing to take care of hospital expenses
  • 45% travelled more than 10 kms to avail doctor services
  • 35% of respondents expressed interest in online medical purchases
  • 32% have shown interest on telemedicine consultation

Mumbai, 11th August, 2023: Only 25% of the semi-rural and rural population in India have access to modern healthcare within their localities, highlighted a survey titled Bharat Health Index (BHI) 2023, released by PayNearby, India’s largest branchless banking and digital network. The accessibility index saw a major dip as one moved from urban to rural India, with only 10% of the rural respondents citing that they had access to healthcare within a 10km radius.

These findings are based on survey responses of 10,000+ retailers across semi-rural and rural India over a month.

Lack of skilled healthcare providers at the last mile pose a significant challenge for accessibility. Only 15% of respondents confirmed having a doctor’s clinic or healthcare facility within a 5 km radius. In terms of medical practitioners available, while 25% had access to general physicians in their area, 92% lacked specialised doctors, such as cardiologists, gynaecologists or paediatricians, impacting medical care.

For specialised treatment such as cancer, neurological or blood disorders, 90% needed to travel to a different location for treatment. 5% reported loss of a loved one due to unavailability of specialist doctors at the local healthcare facility. The survey also evaluated the accessibility and convenience of medical stores at the last mile. A notable 52% of respondents had a pharmacy within 5 km radius of their residence, making essential medicines relatively accessible. However, 85% of the respondents had to travel more than 10 kms to obtain specialised medicines, indicating potential challenges for those with specific medical needs.

Interestingly, 47% of the respondents possessed a thermometer at home, while only 7% had instruments to check blood pressure and blood sugar, suggesting room for improved self- monitoring and prevention.

The survey also examined the funding mechanism for medical expenses and how affordability could be improved at the last mile. The report indicated that an average household in Bharat spent approximately 15-20% of their yearly income on medical expenses. 23% relied on informal loans or borrowing for hospital expenses, while 6% resorted to selling assets to pay off their medical bills. A significant 53% utilised some form of savings to cover these expenses. Given the dependence on out-of-pocket expenses for medical costs, the survey emphasized the urgent need for setting up a financial funding mechanism to address the escalating medical expenses at the last mile. The penetration of financial products such as insurance emerged as crucial for enhancing healthcare affordability and accessibility. However, the report highlighted the abysmally low insurance awareness among Bharat’s last mile. A substantial 55% of the respondents had never heard of insurance. Among those aware of insurance, only 32% had opted for insurance at some point, with a mere 28% possessing health insurance for themselves or their families. Among those with insurance, 88% obtained it from government or state sponsored schemes, while less than 10% obtained it from private insurance providers.

For those without insurance, reasons varied. A substantial 38% cited affordability as a major hindrance, while others mentioned uncertainty about where to buy insurance (36%) or its benefits (24%). Respondents identified limited availability of health insurance providers and lack of information (32%) as the primary challenge. This was closely followed by high premiums (28%), complex documentation processes (15%), limited coverage for specific healthcare needs (18%), and language or literacy barriers (7%).

To improve overall accessibility of healthcare services, the survey also evaluated the affinity for online medicine purchase and teleconsultation among this population. 35% expressed interest in online medical purchases, 32% favoured telemedicine consultations, and 32% showed keenness for online awareness programs and diagnostics/lab tests- online appointments.  The encouraging response towards digital adoption highlights the need for tech-led innovations and distribution models to broaden healthcare reach across the country.

Commenting on the findings, Mr. Anand Kumar Bajaj, Founder, MD & CEO, PayNearby said, “Over 70% of India resides in rural and semi-rural regions. This survey reinforces the urgent need to scale healthcare services for the masses.  More than 80% of doctors, 75% of dispensaries, 60% of hospitals are concentrated in urban India, leaving out marginalised population in SURU to fend for themselves. While infrastructure scaling takes times, leveraging technology for   distribution breakthroughs is crucial to cater to a wider audience. Reliable tele-consultation platforms and easy to use online pharmacy modules can greatly contribute. Our recently launched Health Correspondent program, is a step in that direction. Together with our retailers, the mission is to spread medical awareness and create local health hubs, ensuring the reach of critical primary health services through technology.

The survey also highlights the low penetration of insurance among our populace. To address this, more dialogue and action are needed to facilitate better insurance penetration in the country. This Independence Day, PayNearby has introduced Risk se Freedom Pao campaign, to not only build awareness but also eliminate roadblocks that keep people from availing insurance products. It’s critical that people perceive health insurance in the right light for a safer, better future for themselves and their families. “

Commenting on the report findings, Jayatri Dasgupta, CMO, PayNearby, said, “As India celebrates its 76th Independence Day, an important yardstick to measure the health of the nation is to understand the state of health infrastructure and awareness among the country’s last mile. Affordable and accessible healthcare is pivotal for country’s progress. PayNearby’s Bharat Health Index (BHI) 2023 initiative addresses gaps in existing healthcare infrastructure and outlines ways to enhance it.  The survey highlights the need for more trained medical professionals in rural areas, a better financial support system for medical expenses, accelerated insurance penetration, and the strategic use of technology for distribution breakthroughs.”

Protean & PayNearby team up to democratize credit through ONDC; What could be India’s unique credit marketplace built on the ONDC Network

Mumbai, 09th August, 2023: Protean eGov Technologies Limited, a pioneer and leader in Digital Public Infrastructure (DPI), Regulatory Tech (RegTech) and Open Networks, has joined forces with PayNearby, India’s leading branchless banking and digital network, to make credit services more accessible and affordable for Indians across the country leveraging the ONDC network. This marketplace will be launched soon for last mile borrowers and MSMEs. Once launched the market place will also allow for easy discovery of various lending products at affordable pricing to its borrowers.

In this partnership, Protean will serve as an ONDC technology service provider that facilitates availability of credit for last mile borrowers across the country through PayNearby’s well entrenched Distribution as a Service (DaaS) network. By making this service available through 12+ lakh active PayNearby outlets, the partnership aims to broad-base credit access for India and Bharat both and lay the foundation of a more inclusive society. Smart data modelling and use of frameworks like Account Aggregator (AA) will ensure credit extension to thin-file/new-to-credit underserved citizens, driving breakthroughs in the way India and Bharat lends. Protean will also aggregate multiple Loan Service Providers (LSPs) onto a single platform, thereby giving citizens and businesses the convenience of choice and affordability.

India has a glaring inadequacy in capital access across all segments of the society. According to a TransUnion CIBIL research, the credit served population in the country in 2021 stood less than 22% of the adult population. Despite significant advances in financial inclusion through the JAM (Jan Dhan, Aadhar, and Mobile) trinity, formal credit access to rural and low-income households continue to be a challenge. Dependence of rural poor on money lenders continue, and is more pronounced in the case of marginal farmers, landless labourers, MSMEs and economically backward classes.

The Protean-PayNearby partnership will solve for many of the use-cases that inhibit last mile penetration. Formal institutions find it expensive to reach rural underserved due to their geographical remoteness and lack of access to customer data. Rural citizens are therefore left with very few choices, often informal and at very high cost. With PayNearby’s robust DaaS network, LSPs gain seamless access to local markets through digitally-enabled retailers, streamlining servicing costs. The Account Aggregator (AA) framework enhances credit scoring for accurate assessment of new-to-credit (NTC) and thin-file segments, enabling tailored credit to a wider audience.

For borrowers, credit shopping through a comprehensive marketplace will give them the choice to pick the interest rate and repayment terms as per their needs. The aspect of choice will rationalize pricing and make credit more affordable at the last mile. For the tech-shy and documentation-averse last mile customer, trusted PayNearby local retailers will streamline the process, ensuring faster and hassle-free loan applications and disbursals.

Suresh Sethi, Managing Director and CEO, Protean eGov Technologies Limited, said, “Protean has been at the forefront of building Digital Public Infrastructure (DPI) and population scale e-governance solutions for the citizens and has successfully created a pan-India assisted model to include the digitally excluded masses. However, Bharat is still underserved in terms of access to formal credit. We firmly believe that consent-based data sharing through Account Aggregator will digitally empower the individuals with their own data. Towards that, we have partnered with PayNearby to leverage the Account Aggregator and ONDC network to further accelerate financial inclusion and enable credit access for individuals and businesses at the last mile. This partnership will enable seamless discovery of borrowers and lenders and help create a more inclusive financial system in India.”

Commenting on the alliance, Anand Kumar Bajaj, Founder, MD & CEO, PayNearby, said, “At PayNearby, we champion financial inclusion. However, true inclusion requires credit access at the last mile. Our integration with Protean through ONDC will revolutionize credit availability in Bharat. This partnership enables LSPs to offer formal credit to MSMEs and customers, with competitive pricing and tailored products. Multiple data sources enhance underwriting decisions, ensuring timely credit. PayNearby retailers provide human intelligence for seamless loan disbursals. We’re excited about the potential to create value for our retail partners and customers alike. Zidd Aage Badhne Ki!”

In the past, PayNearby and Protean joined forces to provide paperless PAN Card services at nearby stores across the country

PayNearby focuses on championing health transformation across Bharat through the launch of its Health Correspondent Program

Committed to make quality healthcare available at last mile by appointing 1 lakh Health correspondents by the end of FY23-24.

Mumbai, 24th July, 2023: PayNearby, India’s leading branchless banking and digital network, has launched the Health Correspondents* Program with an aim to make quality healthcare affordable and accessible to the country’s most vulnerable and last-mile population. This is in line with the company’s nation building pledge to make all essential services available for the country’s underserved population and ensure overall transformation of Bharat through a mass transformation approach. The company’s existing network of retailers, such as kirana stores, mobile recharge stores, medical shops, customer service point (CSPs) and travel agents, along with new appointees through Gram Panchayats and local institutions, will be leveraged for this initiative.

The Healthcare Correspondents (HCs) will act as intermediaries between healthcare providers and the rural population, aligning with the Ayushman Bharat vision of the Government of India to enhance primary healthcare in tier II regions and beyond. PayNearby plans to leverage its Distribution as a Service (DaaS) network to bring essential healthcare services to rural Bharat, ensuring equitable access across the country. The program includes promoting various healthcare-related products and services through its HCs, including a Health Card mapped to the citizen’s PayNearby account, to provide discounts on medicines, medical tests, basic medical equipments and doctor consultations via telemedicine. Furthermore, to safeguard citizens from financial risks and life’s uncertainties, the HCs will offer tailor-made healthcare insurance schemes as well.

PayNearby aims to recruit HCs in every corner of the country, utilising existing infrastructure like gram panchayats. By the end of FY23-24, the company plans to convert at least 1 lakh of its million+ active retailers into HCs, expanding the reach of telemedicine services.

Speaking on the occasion, Anand Kumar Bajaj, Founder, MD & CEO, PayNearby, said, “Healthcare is one of the most important parameters of a country’s progress. The true growth of a nation lies in its ability to provide comprehensive health services to its population. PayNearby understands the importance of prioritising people’s health and empowering them to take care of themselves and their families. By introducing Health Correspondents Program in our portfolio, we seek to bridge the gap between urban and rural healthcare services, enabling citizens in Bharat to access all the necessary facilities available to their urban counterparts.

Our retailers are the flagbearers of the massive inclusion mission that we have undertaken. In times of crisis, they have always been at the beck and call of the citizens. Their role during the pandemic, as community managers bringing government’s relief funds to the masses or ensuring mass registration for the immunization program, gave us the confidence that our retail partners can double up as HCs and use technology to enable quality healthcare services in their communities. With time and adequate handholding, HCs will be trained to bring about a behavorial shift so that technology can be used for all primary healthcare needs, whether it is teleconsultation with specialists, ordering medicine at discounted rates or health related awareness and training programs locally.

With this initiative, we are committed to help the country achieve Universal Health Coverage (UHC) and take the ‘Sabka Saath, Sabka Vikas, Sabka Swasthya’ mission a notch higher.”

During the pandemic, the local trust of PayNearby’s retailers came into play when they doubled up as frontline warriors and ensured DBT and other relief funds reached the hands of the intended. In addition, they also helped people register on the CoWIN app for vaccination, creating large-scale community awareness for the immunization program. Success of societal welfare programs like these has augmented the trust and reach of the PayNearby network and elevated them as community managers in their territories, which will now be leveraged to enable affordable healthcare at the last mile.

*Disclaimer: Health Correspondents are concerned individuals, only assisting in making health tech/health services accessible to rural India and do not provide health/medical-related services on their own (i.e. as health workers/ RMP/ caregivers or any other authorised service provider).

PayNearby launches PayNearby Radio on its app, aims to make it Bharat’s most preferred infotainment channel for merchants and small businesses

Aims to provide bite-sized content that offers both entertainment and livelihood enhancement tools

Mumbai, 19 July, 2023: PayNearby, India’s largest branchless banking and digital network, has launched PayNearby Radio, a platform curated exclusively for its million+ active retailers in Bharat, to provide them with snackable content that helps them grow unabated in life. It is aligned with the company’s vision to mass-modernize the retail sector across the country and create a thriving ecosystem for its retail partners, bringing them at par with the current times.

PayNearby Radio enhances retailer engagement, providing tips on shop modernization and income augmentation, health and lifestyle care, and news updates that are relevant for this cohort. The platform marries entertainment with valuable life-skill recommendations that will help retailers further their life-goals. Available on the PayNearby app, the platform has already registered ~150,000+ total events within days of its launch.

Currently available in Hindi, the content will be made available in other regional languages as well. PayNearby Radio has a familiar interface, similar to popular social media platforms and enables retailers to like and share content, fostering collaboration and amplifying reach. PayNearby aims to evolve radio into a valuable two-way conduit for retailer communication.

Speaking on the launch, Anand Kumar Bajaj, Founder, MD & CEO, PayNearby said, “Our retailers are the heart of our business, and their growth and well-being are central to how we operate. At PayNearby, our motto is to create a conducive environment that helps our retail partners grow unabated in life. PayNearby Radio is an initiative dedicated to empowering their personal and economic well-being. Content that are tailormade for our retailers will ensure that we are able to add substantial value to their livelihood and lifestyles. Overtime, we are working to evolve this platform into a medium that allows our retailers and their families to showcase their talent and create the go-to engagement channel for them.”

Commenting further, Jayatri Dasgupta, CMO, PayNearby said, “In today’s world of high decibel noise and hugely fragmented media-space, getting the mindshare of a targeted cohort becomes really challenging. More challenging is to hold their interest and create stickiness, without being intrusive and lack-lustre. Marketers today are vulnerable to the pitfalls of a high-churn media environment, that doesn’t make appropriate allowances for the specific requirement of a target cohort.

PayNearby Radio will help us beat some of these challenges. By ensuring tailored content for our retail community, the idea is to establish a meaningful two-way communication that holds their attention and engages them better. For retailers who lead a very busy life, and may not have the time and bandwidth for text, banner or video content, a world of information and entertainment will open up just by plugging in the ubiquitous ear-phones. The content is designed to be very simple, upfront and sharp so that we can relay the message easily to a wider audience in a non-intrusive engaged format. We will constantly innovate and partner with relevant stakeholders to bring in a medley of content that is relevant for this community. We believe this medium will play a crucial role in disseminating critical information like subsidy announcements, allowing for a deeper sense of credibility and grassroots connection through voice-based communication. Zidd Aage Badhne Ki!”

Click here to watch the launch video: https://youtu.be/RFFiY76ZZGE

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