Four New Startups Added To RBI’s Retail Payments Regulatory Sandbox


Jaipur-based Natural Support Consultancy Services and Delhi-based Nucleus Software Exports had been selected in November

The four startups work in various areas solving problems in retail payments through NFC, voice-based interactions and more

After retail payments, the RBI regulatory sandbox’s next focus area is cross-border payments innovation

The Reserve Bank of India (RBI) has added four more startups to its regulatory sandbox cohort for digital retail payments, taking the total number to six. Fintech startup ToneTag, Mumbai-based PoS smart card provider CityCash, voice biometrics authentication startup Ubona Technologies, and Delhi NCR-based Eroute Technologies have been selected for the cohort.

The four startups join Jaipur-based Natural Support Consultancy Services and Delhi-based Nucleus Software Exports in the cohort. Both companies had already begun testing their payments solutions under the sandbox framework in November this year.

Natural Support Consultancy Services’ product ‘eRupaya’ is a set of near-field communication (NFC)-based prepaid card and NFC-enabled point of sale (PoS) device, while Nucleus’ ‘PaySe’ helps connect with rural areas for epayments. Both help facilitate offline transactions at merchants and retailers in remote locations.

New Fintech Startups In RBI’s Retail Payments Sandbox

Like the existing companies in the cohort, the new startups also work in various areas solving problems in retail payments as identified by the RBI.

CityCash offers a smart card for NFC-based contactless payments. Founded in 2017, it’s working with state government transport departments and tourism authorities to facilitate card-based payments. It was part of VC firm Orios Venture’s third cohort of the Misfits programme, announced in August 2020.

Similar to CityCash, Eroute Technologies also offers card-based payments solutions. Founded in 2018, the startup is targetting young consumers with its prepaid card accepted by merchants in the cards and the Bharat QR network. The company claims to have raised $1.5 Mn in funding. Its UPI-based offline payment solution uses a smartcard for P2P/P2M transactions. It offers payment solutions for non-internet connected feature phone users.

Bengaluru-based ToneTag uses soundwaves and a receiver to authenticate payments. The tech connects a smartphone to a PoS machine using unique soundwaves. The company, which was founded in 2013, has raised over $10.3 Mn in funding with investors such as Mastercard, 3one4 Capital, Amazon among others.

Bengaluru-based Ubona Technologies offers voice, image and music recognition technology to payment providers or other businesses, as well as customer experience solutions driven by voice interactions and more.

Released in August 2019, the RBI regulatory sandbox allowed private companies to develop and test their products under limited regulatory controls and supervision for various areas besides retail payments.  The  sandbox allows startups to conduct field tests to collect evidence and data about the operations and the benefits of new financial innovations while carefully monitoring and containing their risks. These tests are conducted outside production environment using randomised dummy data.

Besides retail payments, the regulatory sandbox will also look for startups in other areas. Its next focus would be on cross-border payments, as the RBI announced recently.

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