India’s Paytm launches $12 ‘soundbox’ that accepts card payments

BENGALURU (Reuters) – Indian fintech firm Paytm on Monday launched a ‘soundbox’ device that lets merchants accept both mobile and card payments across networks including Visa, Mastercard, American¬†Express and homegrown RuPay.

The launch of the 999 rupees ($12.08) ‘Card Soundbox’, which also provides instant audio payment alerts to prevent fraud, comes as rival Pine Labs announced a similar device at “nearly one-third of the cost of a regular Point of Sale terminal”.

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Paytm, which competes with players such as Google Pay and Walmart’s PhonePe in India, rose to fame as digital payments gained traction after India banned some high-value currency notes in 2016. Every segment of merchants, from vegetable vendors to big showrooms, have started accepting digital payments.

“We have found that merchants and consumers need card acceptance as simply as mobile payments with Paytm QR Code,” Vijay Shekhar Sharma, founder and CEO of Paytm said in a statement on Monday.

Pine Labs had said their “price-friendly product” was expected to boost digital payment adoption in India.

Companies like PhonePe also make the so-called soundbox, which reads out the amount of money received by the merchant.

Paytm shares ended mostly flat on Monday, trimming some losses made earlier in the session.

(Reporting by Sethuraman NR and Manvi Pant in Bengaluru; editing by Eileen Soreng)

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