CNBC Disruptor 50

India's mobile payment infrastructure 'is five years ahead of the US,' says Ezetap CEO

Disruptor No. 16: Ezetap brings digital payments to India

The payment infrastructure in India "is probably five years ahead of the U.S.," Ezetap CEO Bobby Bose, told CNBC on Tuesday.

"India is going through a digitalization of almost everything. It started with commerce, went to transportation, and now banking and finance — which is the biggest because it literally affects everyone," said Bose. The social capital-backed mobile payments company is India's part of movement towards democratizing digital payments for the entire country, intensified by Prime Minister Narendra Modi's decision to demonetize Indian currency.

After the government wiped out two major currency bills, citizens were left with no choice but to make the transition to online banking, he said.

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"The government created some kind of a mish-mash of Paypal and Gmail — where I can give you my email address, and you could pay me," said Bose. "There's infrastructure here that's exploding the payment options in a way that's probably five years ahead of the U.S. already," he said.

Bose said the architecture of India's payment infrastructure is fundamentally different than the U.S. "In the U.S., payment companies ... make money through transactions. In emerging markets there's basically no margin there. We had to transform payments into a software business," said Bose.

The U.S. already had the infrastructure provided by credit and debit cards, but as a developing country India was starting from scratch, he said. "What we've done is not only enable cards, but we have one hundred million active wallet users," said Bose.

Ezetap has already processes $1.5 billion in annualized transaction value and is expected to surpass $3 billion this year.

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