BharatPe is a leading fintech company providing digital payment solutions for small businesses and merchants in India. Founded in 2018 by Ashneer Grover and Shashvat Nakrani, BharatPe aims to make digital transactions accessible and affordable for millions of offline merchants in the country.
Within a short span of just 3 years, BharatPe has emerged as one of the top payment service providers in India. From its headquarters in New Delhi, the company operates across over 100 Indian cities and has facilitated over ₹15,000 crores in annualized TPV as of March 2020.
BharatPe started by enabling digital payments for small merchants through QR codes. It has now expanded to provide them with micro-loans, working capital, and other tailored services. BharatPe’s offerings are designed to empower local businesses to adapt and thrive in a digital economy.
BharatPe’s Business Model
The core of BharatPe’s business model involves providing merchants and retailers with seamless acceptance of digital payments through QR codes.
- BharatPe generates a unique QR code for each merchant, which can be used to accept payments from any UPI app, including Paytm, PhonePe, Google Pay, etc.
- This allows small businesses to start accepting digital payments without any setup costs or transaction fees.
- Merchants receive the payments directly in their bank account with daily settlements.
1. Revenue Streams
BharatPe generates revenue from the following main streams:
- Interest earned on providing merchant cash advances and small business loans. Loans up to ₹7 lakhs at competitive rates.
- A processing fee is charged per transaction for instant bank settlements. Ranges from 0.2% to 0.4% per transaction.
- Subscription fee for value-adds like inventory management tools. Typically ₹99 to ₹299 per month.
- Renting POS machines on a pay-per-transaction basis under the BharatSwipe program. Applicable for card payments.
- Cross-selling revenue from selling business insurance covers provided in partnership with insurance companies.
- Levying a small convenience fee on bill payments like mobile, electricity bill payments, etc.
- Interest earned from merchant investment programs like fixed deposits.
2. Target Customer Base
BharatPe primarily targets individual merchants, kirana store owners, and small business owners across India’s tier 2 and 3 cities.
- Small local retailers like mobile recharge outlets, medical stores, and grain merchants have slowly adopted digital payments.
- Owners of small neighbourhood Kirana stores and family-run shops still rely heavily on cash transactions.
- Beauty salons, auto repair shops, tuition centres, and other small service businesses that need affordable payment solutions.
- Food & beverage businesses like restaurants, juice centres, and chaat stalls see high volumes of cash transactions.
- Small business owners running proprietorships in food, retail, garments, electronics, etc., with less than 10 employees.
- Startups and emerging businesses need quick business loans or working capital to grow.
BharatPe started as a QR code payment platform but has diversified into various product lines catering to merchants’ needs.
1. QR Code Payments
- Merchants can display BharatPe QR codes at their stores.
- Customers can scan this using any UPI app to make payments without any extra charges.
- BharatPe supports payments from apps like Paytm, PhonePe, Google Pay, BHIM, etc.
2. Merchant Loans
- Merchants can avail collateral-free loans up to ₹7 lakhs from BharatPe.
- Minimal paperwork, quick approval, and disbursal within 24-48 hours.
- Competitive interest rates start from 1% per month.
3. BharatSwipe POS Machines
- BharatPe offers portable POS swipe machines on a zero-rental basis.
- Merchants can start accepting debit/credit card payments.
- Detailed sales reports for reconciliation and accounting.
4. Bill Payments
- Merchants can use BharatPe to pay utility bills, mobile recharges, etc.
- Single interface for electricity, mobile, DTH, and gas bills.
- Reliable and secure platform for online bill payments.
Key Features of BharatPe
Some of the standout features that define BharatPe’s offerings are:
- Interoperable payments via UPI allow customers to pay via any UPI app like Paytm, PhonePe, Google Pay, etc. This provides flexibility and convenience.
- Zero transaction or joining fee model making it affordable for merchants to adopt digital payments.
- Quick access to collateral-free microloans in just a few clicks based on the merchant’s transaction history and credibility. Loans up to ₹7 lakhs.
- They are providing POS machines on a zero-rental basis under the BharatSwipe program. Merchants only pay per transaction fee.
- Value-added services like inventory management, and accounting tools tailored specifically for the merchant’s business needs.
- Simplified reconciliation with a detailed dashboard showing transactions, settlements, refunds, dispute management, etc.
- Omnichannel support with helpdesk, chat, emails, IVR, and on-ground teams for addressing merchant queries.
Funding & Investors
BharatPe has emerged as one of the top-funded fintech startups in India on the back of rapid growth and innovation.
- BharatPe has raised over $700 million in funding so far across 14 rounds.
- Key investors include Sequoia Capital, Coatue Management, Ribbit Capital, Insight Partners, Steadview Capital, etc.
- In 2022, BharatPe was valued at $2.85 billion during Series E funding.
- BharatPe aims to expand services to 10 million merchants by 2023.
- It plans to launch its credit card and diversify into lending.
- There are also reports of BharatPe planning an IPO within the next 2 years.
How Merchants Can Benefit from BharatPe?
BharatPe aims to make business easier for offline merchants. Here are some key benefits:
1. Getting Started
- Merchants can download the BharatPe app and complete a quick signup process.
- They need to link their bank account to start accepting payments.
- BharatPe helps activate services like QR codes and loans.
2. Accepting Payments
- Merchants can display a BharatPe QR code to accept payments from customers.
- They receive real-time alerts when payments are made via the QR code.
- Amounts are credited to the bank account with daily settlements.
3. Availing Loans
- Based on transactions, merchants can check loan eligibility on the BharatPe app.
- Minimal paperwork and easy application process for small business loans.
- Loans are available at competitive interest rates starting at 12% per annum.
4. Using BharatSwipe
- Merchants can opt for zero rental card machines to accept card payments.
- The BharatPe dashboard provides in-depth sales reports for better reconciliation.
- Offline businesses can go seamlessly digital by using BharatSwipe.
BharatPe‘s Mission And Road Ahead
BharatPe has seen exponential growth since starting up in 2018. Going forward, the company aims to expand its merchant base further.
- BharatPe is targeting over 10 million merchants and $30 billion TPV by 2023.
- It aims to offer loans of $1 billion on its platform by the end of 2022.
- BharatPePOS processes payments of $14 billion annually as of Feb 2022.
- The company does face challenges around profitability and corporate governance.
- However, the scope in India’s fintech space provides massive growth potential.
BharatPe has emerged as a leading fintech player with its innovative offerings for small businesses. By using technology to remove friction in digital payments, BharatPe has empowered lakhs of merchants to adapt and benefit from the digital revolution.
With a robust payments platform, easy access to credit, zero hardware costs, and tailored services, BharatPe provides an inclusive platform for offline merchants to thrive in a digital economy. The company has a long runway for growth, given India’s expanding fintech potential.