Exclusive | Transact anywhere anytime: Beam Money
February 12, 2013
Money payment from side to side the mobile payment system is fast catching up in India and leading this revolution is Beam Money (www.beam.co.in). The company through its revolutionary cashless mobile payment system allows unbanked and banked customers to transact with anyone anywhere and anytime. Customers can use SMS, WAP, App, internet or even landline to transact themselves, and persons without these can transact taking assistance of Beam Sahayak (facilitator) in their neighbourhood. Beam Sahayaks are educated unemployed youth, particularly women who earn incomeby selling Beam products and services even from the comfort of their home. Beam services are availed by registering free via a simple SMS to establish an account automatically.
Says Anand Shrivastav, Chairman & Managing Director, Beam Money, “our services include home delivery & shopping payments, domestic money transfers, telecom/DTH-TV recharge, utility bill payments, travel bookings, e commerce payments, banking transactions, bookings for movies etc. The registration is free, paperless and compatible with any phone, bank or telco. Transactions ensure safety with no financial details of the subscriber retained. The service is maintenance free and requires no physical presence of either the payer or the receiver. This makes Beam a boon for tech savvy urban individuals on the go as well as a technologically deficient senior citizen in a remote city or village.” He was speaking exclusively to Adgully.
Launched in 2009 after receiving Reserve Bank of India’s Certificate of Authorisation, Beam Money has grown over 100 per cent Y-o-Y and today transacts over Rs 1800 crores annually. One of the reasons for the success has been the wide experience of its promoter, Shrivastav.
An experienced and a multifaceted professional with more than 30 years of experience in marketing and distribution of consumer, nutrition and health care products besides telecom and banking services, it is Shrivastav’s vision to connect the unbanked population to the mainstream and their economic empowerment in India.
Talking about future plans, Shrivastav says, “our plan is to continually expand our bouquet of services, widen and deepen our distribution network and also keep increasing our customer base. Some of the services planned to be introduced are micro pensions, insurance, mutual fund products, banking products besides international money transfer. In the next five years Beam endeavours to have 100 million customers and one lakh Beam Sahayaks.”
On being asked what are the key differentiators of the business when compared to a traditional cash transfer or the services offered by money transfer companies, Shrivastav replies, “ India is becoming an increasingly competitive environment for mobile payments/banking. We have bank led competition offering mobile banking systems. We also have telecom led initiatives and addition to B2B initiatives. Beam is as it is agnostic to telecom operators and banks, does not require change of SIM, downloading any software/application or high end equipment. Both unbanked/under-banked and banked can freely transact amongst each other without bothering which telecom operator the other person belongs to.”
Additionally, Beam’s ability to enable its customers to use their single Beam wallet for any transaction, at any time, from any place, with any one – whether unbanked or banked, using any mode makes it innovatively different. It is the first company to enter the mobile payment sector. “We are a for-profit social enterprise whose mission interalia is to provide self-employment opportunities to educated unemployed youth, particularly women to supplement their household income,” he adds. Enriching lives one person at a time, Beam endeavours to bring smiles to every Indian by making them self-reliant and prosperous.
Going ahead, the company aims to expand its offerings to encompass channel partners, merchants (from small to chains and corporate-institutions) to increase acceptance, and corporate employees. There are however challenges which it needs to overcome. “Like all other players in mobile payments industry, we too facing five main issues- a viable and scalable business model, ability to create ecosystem required, finding right people, understanding and managing the business of financial transactions & risks thereof and managing an evolving regulatory environment.
With competition becoming increasingly intense, innovation is the need of the day. Companies should constantly be innovating ways to delight the customer – by a rewards program or a by providing a more convenient service experience is what would give us an edge. Beam believes in innovation as a means of product differentiation. To drive home its positioning and view point, Beam has created its brand equity with a mix of marketing and promotional activities. “We do mass advertising in TV and print besides digital online marketing. We also do on ground branding activities and also do promotions. These are very important as the mobile payment is a relatively unknown category and we must therefore earn the trust of the customers and merchants and be visible to them,” concludes Shrivastav.