Now Accept UPI Payments Through WhatsApp, PhonePe, Tez, BHIM etc.

The Indian FinTech landscape is extremely hot right now with the likes of Google, Facebook, Amazon trying to grab a share of the pie, apart from the homegrown PhonePe, BHIM and others. Their entry point? UPI.

Back when UPI was launched in April 2016, there was a general anticipation around how this would affect the Indian payments ecosystem. Our stance from day one has been that this is the future of how payments will work in India. In fact, we were the first to launch UPI acceptance for businesses in 2016 and we now power it across the likes of IRCTC, CureFit, ZestMoney etc.

We are now happy to announce the general availability of UPI payments through the native intent flow for all our merchants.

How Merchant Payments on UPI Have Worked So Far

P2M payments (customer to merchant) were supported through the collect flow until now. Here’s how that worked:

  1. The customer selects UPI as the payment mode in merchant app/website
  2. They then enter their VPA made on any UPI application
  3. A collect request is sent to this VPA by Razorpay
  4. The customer receives a push notification and/or SMS for the collect request
  5. They accept the collect request by entering their UPI PIN
  6. Customer goes back to merchant app/website to get confirmation of the payment being successful

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This is a very long process for the customer. At a technical level, the number of background API calls involved is high, leading to a higher number of failure points as well.

We have also seen push and SMS notifications delivery being erratic and this part of the flow is specific to each application. The net result has been a sub-optimal user experience for the end customer and an increased probability of payment failures.

Understanding The UPI Intent Flow

This flow solves some of these issues, making the overall process significantly smoother. Here’s the flow:

  1. The customer selects UPI as the payment mode in merchant app/website
  2. Then they are shown the list of UPI apps installed on their phone that supports the intent flow
  3. Customers select their preferred application
  4. The application is directly opened with the payment details filled already
  5. Customer completes the payment by entering their UPI PIN
  6. The app automatically sends the customer back to merchant app for payment completion

This has some obvious benefits, such as:

  1. Customers no longer need to handle push/SMS notifications
  2. They don’t need to juggle 3 applications to complete a payment either (merchant, SMS, app)
  3. They don’t need to remember their VPA

These benefits lead to a higher conversion rate, decrease in abandoned carts and a decrease in time to complete the payment. It’s also a much better user experience for your customers.

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Apps That Support Intent Flow

Most of the apps have added support for intent flow, including BHIM, PhonePe, Tez etc. WhatsApp is currently in the process of rolling it out for all their users.

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Adding Support for UPI Intent In Your Application

Currently, only the Android devices support the intent flow. The best part? You don’t need to write a single line of extra code to add support for this! If you are already using Razorpay’s Android SDK then you just need to update the SDK version and you’re good to go.

If you are new to our Android SDK, you can get started here. This SDK, with a single integration, provides support for accepting credit/debit cards, net banking, wallets, and UPI.

As always, feel free to write to us at integrations@razorpay.com if you face any issue or have any feedback on our product. Happy payments!

Supercharge Your Bank Transfers Using Razorpay Smart Collect

Bank transfer modes like NEFT (National Electronic Funds Transfer) and RTGS (Real Time Gross Settlement) have been used for online and offline transactions for more than a decade now.

Although new online payment methods have emerged since, many customers and businesses still rely on bank transfers for payments. Typically such businesses handle sales of large ticket sizes and prefer to accept payments via bank transfers to save on the percentage paid towards processing payments.

In such cases where bank transfers are used, while functionality of the payment mode is achieved, it can prove to be an efficiency drain for businesses. The manual effort needed to manage bank transfers in terms of verifying the source of payment, validating the payment value, reconciling account receivables etc., can be a major hassle for businesses.

Keeping tabs on customers who have made the payment and the ones who have not is both tedious and time consuming. The physical effort of reconciliation while being complex is still manageable if you process only a handful of bank transfers in a day.

But imagine the situation if your business were to manage many hundreds of bank transfers in one day – dedicated human resources will need to be hired to simply do the job of reconciliation manually.

And, if the your sales were to translate into thousands of transactions a day a large reconciliation team will need to be instituted, leading to a colossal waste of time and resources.

When businesses receive large volumes of bank transfers, they also typically require additional systems or software to manage the reconciliation process. This reconciliation process is quite complicated as it is not directly linked to the collection process which is still handled by banks.

Mapping a transaction against a specific payment would still not be simple and straightforward, given the need for two completely different systems to interact with each other.

All this leads to poor cash flow management and problems with effectively managing accounts receivables thereby restricting businesses from scaling and growing.

Being in the business of processing payments, we realized that this was a real bottleneck for businesses and decided to tackle the problem. We are delighted to introduce Razorpay Smart Collect, the simplest way to automate bank transfers and payment reconciliation.

How Smart Collect keeps you ahead ?

Razorpay Smart Collect automates the entire process by allowing businesses to easily generate virtual bank accounts to collect payments via RTGS, NEFT and IMPS. This makes reconciliation easy, convenient and quick, all while saving businesses from massive resource drain in terms of man hours and dollars.

Here is how Razorpay Smart Collect seamlessly automates bank transfers through four simple steps:

  • Create a virtual bank account via API or dashboard
  • Share the virtual bank account details with the customer, who can then add the account as a beneficiary
  • Customer makes the transfer using NEFT/RTGS/IMPS to the virtual bank account
  • Payment is received and instant alerts are triggered to the merchant

Watch this video to see how the solution works:

Why virtual accounts though ?

So, what really is the need to create virtual accounts? Well, sharing your actual account number for purposes of receiving a NEFT/RTGS/IMPS payments has many disadvantages, most notably that of reconciliation.

This is a tedious task, involving matching the bank reference IDs shared by the customers with those present in your bank statement. Razorpay Smart Collect addresses the issue of payment collection and reconciliation of account receivables through a single platform, by creating virtual accounts that act as easy payment identifiers.

The solution can be easily integrated using a few lines of code and is fully manageable through a nifty dashboard.

This is how a typical virtual account number will look:

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The custom-built solution is designed to meet several use cases to provide maximum flexibility to businesses. The business use cases we cover in the first version of the solution are:

One time payments – Used in cases where you need accept a single, large payment from a customer via NEFT, RTGS or IMPS. The account can be closed as soon as the payment is received.

Repeat payments – For instances where customers are likely to make repeat payments, dedicated virtual accounts can be created for each customer to easily keep track of every incoming payment.

Campaign based payments – For special events or campaigns, unique virtual accounts for specific campaigns can be created. Thus segregating the incoming payments for maximum control and visibility.

The solution also comes powered with features that ensure complete control and end-to-end visibility of the collection and reconciliation processes. The exclusive feature that come enabled on Razorpay Smart Collect are:

Seamless Refunds – Send out full or partial refunds to customers via Dashboard & API and your customers will receive it directly in their bank accounts.

Custom Account Number – Create account numbers the way you want. Highlight your company name or assign account numbers specific to customer IDs or any other custom field.

Status Tracking – Track status of every transaction and virtual account in real time. Get notified as soon as payment is completed via Dashboard and Webhook.

Smart Reporting – Get actionable insights from Dashboard & Reports using our downloadable reports. Check collections, settlements and much more.

For further information about the product, read our technical documentation and here is how you can sign up for Razorpay Smart Collect.

Automate Your Subscriptions Seamlessly using Razorpay

Businesses today are changing the way they do things to meet the evolving needs of consumers.

The consumer economy today wants products and services that are convenient, customisable and on-demand, and to incorporate these needs many traditional businesses are making the shift to what is called the subscription economy.

Subscriptions essentially removes large upfront charges made towards customers while allowing them the flexibility to choose as per their wants and needs, like the period and nature of subscription.

Giving this power back into the hands of customers, allowing them to experiment and choose from a wide variety of options is what is making the subscription model hugely popular.

Not only are subscriptions great for customers, it also allows businesses to obtain a steady flow of revenue, improving cash flows and liquidity without the need to worry about operational hurdles.

This unique benefit has made subscription models very attractive to all businesses today and more so for service based businesses. There are several subscription success stories around us today – from consumer services like Netflix and Spotify to enterprise solutions like AWS and Salesforce.

Online automation for subscription payments have been popular and prevalent in the west for a while now, however the same was not the case in India until recently.

Automated online payments were not allowed for subscription payments, meaning every time a subscription payment was due, customers had to make a manual payment either online or offline to ensure continuity in service/product delivery.

As a first step, just over a year back the RBI started allowing automatic payments for subscription models via credit cards with the clause of complying to the standard 2-factor authentication (that is required for all online payments) for the first subscription payment.

Subsequent payments for the billing cycle are carried on automatically, without any additional effort from the customer. And, moving forward, more online methods like E-mandate will be introduced specifically for handling subscriptions and UPI will also start supporting subscriptions.

At Razorpay we have made it a practice to make the best of new opportunities and we are proud to be the first fintech company in India to offer a completely customizable subscriptions platform that allows businesses to handle all aspects around subscriptions through a single solution.

Subscriptions can range anywhere from a simple standard customer subscription with equal payments spread across the subscription cycle to complex subscription use cases that involve on-demand add-ons in addition to standard subscription charges and per user models for large enterprises.

Razorpay’s subscription platform is built in such a way that a single platform caters to all types of subscription requirements.

Watch this video to see how our platform automates subscriptions:

The major subscription types we support are:

  • Fixed Payment Schedule: Customers are charged for the product or service for a fixed price for fixed period of time.
  • Per User Model: For companies that charge their customers based on seats or users availing the service such as Saas based enterprises
  • Usage Billing Model: Lets your customers pay only for what they have consumed over the billing cycle
  • On Demand Add-ons: For companies which allow customers to avail on demand services and pay for them in a single purchase along with the fixed recurring amount

Regardless of the subscription model, there are several minute details and components that need to work in tandem to deliver a seamless subscription experience.

From consumer driven requirements like changes in subscription duration, changes in payment mode etc to merchant requirements like the need for real time subscription data, trial options, handling of edge cases etc., a subscription solution has to incorporate several aspects in order to be successful.

Razorpay’s custom-built subscription solution is a great way to handle both side’s requirements effectively and automatically; bringing together the various aspects of successful subscriptions collection and management in a single platform.

Here’s how the solution handles both aspects in order to provide a smooth experience to both businesses (or merchants) and end-consumers:

a) Collection of subscription payments

Collection of subscriptions refers to the periodic collection of payments from customers, based on their subscription plan.

It is very important to remove the friction in the collection of subscription payments, hence authorization (using two factor authentication, as mandated by RBI) is taken from the customer at the start of the billing cycle and our subscriptions platform handles all subsequent charges without any involvement from the merchant or customer.

We also ensure that payments are collected under all scenarios including failed payments, delayed payments, card issues etc. without causing any revenue loss to the merchant.

b) Management of subscriptions

Successful subscription payments takes more than than just a slick, front-end payment interface for collecting payments. Several minute functional aspects with regards to subscriptions need to be handled effectively in order to ensure a smooth customer experience and steady stream of revenue, without any disruptions.

We have carefully built several value-added features to make subscriptions handling a breeze for merchants. Here are the features:

  • Trial and discounting options – Like any other business, subscription businesses also have to run special promotions like trial offers to attract customers. The idea for such customer incentives is to gain customer trust and convert such initiatives into revenue. With the Razorpay subscriptions platform, your business can easily offer such trial options to customers who then have the choice to automatically sign up for full-time subscription plans.
  • Add-ons – With the on-demand economy booming worldwide, even in subscription businesses there may arise a need that a customer wants to purchase products or services in addition to the subscription. Our platform supports all such requests, and merchants can easily add all add-on charges or other overhead expenses to existing subscription plans.
  • Upfront Charges – Upfront charges, like a one time fee can be collected from customers at the time of creating the subscription while all the remaining subscription payments can be collected as per the billing cycle. This feature is specially useful for businesses that require initial payments, like furniture rental that would require a security deposit.
  • Real-time reports and status tracking – Real time data is what keeps any business agile. Get real time data insights and reports straight from the dashboard about all subscription accounts at all stages of the subscription cycle in order to enable better decision making. You can also set up webhook integration for all subscription related activities such as creation, cancellation, payment status, or subscription expiry and get real time alerts. For instance, ‘subscription.activated’ will be fired when a subscription moves to an activated state.
  • Handling of edge cases – Due to the continuing nature of payments and services, subscription businesses can be exposed several edge cases like change of cards, declined cards, change of subscription plan etc. We ensure that all such edge-cases are automatically handled to render a seamless subscription experience. For instance, in the case of a failed transaction, the platform automatically re-attempts the transaction over the next 3 days to ensure that the billing continuity is not interrupted.

Over the past many months we have been consistently polishing up our subscriptions platform and have even rolled out the product to select merchants who have achieved significant efficiencies with the solution. So, if you’re offering subscription plans to your customers look no further, sign-up for Razorpay Subscriptions today and automate your recurring payments.