When Pramod Saxena was prompted to try his hand in an IT-enabled multi services platform then the telecom wave was growing rapidly in the country, and it was all developing on prepaid. Prepaid was the only way through which services could reach to the bottom of the pyramid. In an economy where its rural is still largely unbanked, his services, especially mobile recharge and mobile transaction, could simplify life. Underscoring this prospect, Pramod Saxena, the MD, founded Oxigen Services, a payment solution provider.
“We started with aggregation of services on our platform and connecting the aggregated services online with retail network. Our base model is to aggregate more services on our technology platform, we have our own transaction engine and we connect to the retailers online through these terminals,” explains Saxena.
Any customer who wishes to avail the services can create an account. With it, provided there is credit, one can avail services ranging from mobile recharge to money transfer. With large number of migrant workers in the metros, transferring money to unbanked villages is still a big challenge. It even allows the person to transfer money to a bank account. And the transaction becomes easier when one can transfer it from a mobile phone to a touch point, where the recipient can receive the money with an aadhar card after biometric identification. It functions as the virtual substitute of a bank in the far-flung areas of the country.
Saxena elaborates, “Our core focus is now financial inclusion and helping people at the bottom of the pyramid to transfer money and to be able to cash out where they need money without having to go to a bank or without having to go to an ATM. The key element of ensuring that financial inclusion can happen is to provide facility to provide cash at every door step of rural India.”
The company has two levels of engagement in the rural areas at the moment. “One is, we are enabling small retailers directly, and we have got thousand of villages covered. Apart from this, we also have built connectivity with Customer Service Centres (CSCs) which have been setup in rural areas by various entities,” says the MD.
Saxena believes that in the next 2-3 years Oxigen will create significant rural access and promote money transfer as a main service. “The technology is sophisticated and we have spent lot in developing it. We are trying to make it as simple as possible, so that even a small shop keeper or even an illiterate person can use it.”
To further it operation, Oxigen has tied up with several banks through national switch. National Payment Corporation of India (NPCI) is a national switch which has been formed by group of banks under the RBI’s authorization, and it gives access to the banks. It allows someone with an Oxigen account to transfer money to any of the banks.
Expressing his view on the challenges, the head, an IIT alumnus, is quite ‘a realist.’ “Here regulation has moved at such a fast pace that it has surprised everybody. I’d say, regulation which is generally considered a hurdle, in this case it’s a facilitator.” The only hurdle he perceives are the banks. He hopes that banks should support the alternative means for money movement. “If we want to promote very large scale money transfer business using mobile phones through mobile wallet then the banks should stop charging for cash deposit,” laments Saxena.