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TECHNOLOGY

SBI Payments to Launch YONO Merchant App to Boost Digital Transactions in Small Indian Cities

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SBI Payments, a subsidiary of India’s largest lender State Bank of India, will launch YONO Merchant App to provide low-cost digital payments infrastructure to merchants , the bank said on Saturday. YONO Merchant App will expand digitisation of merchant payments in the country, SBI said in a release.

“Aiming to enable millions of merchants through mobile-led technology to accept digital payments, SBI plan to deploy low-cost acceptance infrastructure across India over the next two years targeting 20 million potential merchants across India in retail and enterprise segment.” This will help boost digital payments acceptance infrastructure in tier 3, 4 as well as north eastern cities. YONO SBI Merchant will act as a soft PoS (point of sale) solution for which it has partnered with global payments technology major Visa to enable Tap to Phone feature. The partnerships aims to give the necessary boost to scale up acceptance infrastructure across the country, SBI said.

“It gives me immense pleasure to announce the launch of YONO SBI Merchant app by our digital payments subsidiary SBI Payments. The Bank launched YONO Platform three years ago, YONO, has 35.8 million registered users. YONO Merchant is a brand extension of this platform aiming to improve user experience and bringing convenience to our merchants,” Dinesh Kumar Khara, the Chairman of SBI, said. Khara said in the next 2-3 years, SBI is aiming to digitize millions of merchants by upgrading their mobile phones into a PoS device accepting all form factors, accessing Value Added Services such as loyalty, GST invoicing, inventory management, among others and connecting into an interface to avail other banking products at a click of a button.

“We are aiming to grow our merchant touch points multi-fold crossing 5-10 million within 2-3 years. YONO SBI Merchant is a great enabler for retail and enterprise merchants offering a holistic product proposition to improve merchant engagement, user experience and convenience,” Giri Kumar Nair, MD& CEO, SBI Payments said. SBI said the launch of YONO Merchant is in line with RBI’s recent announcement of creating a Payments Infrastructure Development Fund (PIDF) to encourage acquirers to deploy Point of Sale (PoS) infrastructure (both physical and digital) in lesser penetrated areas of the country. Merchants will now be able to turn their NFC enabled Android smartphones into payment acceptance devices through a simple mobile app, it said.

“Our partnership with SBI is aimed at empowering more merchants with low-cost, innovative, simple and secure ways of accepting digital payments and forms an important part of our global commitment to digitally empower 50 million small businesses. We are confident that with SBI’s presence around the length and breadth of the country, millions of consumers in smaller cities will be able to pay digitally and conveniently at their nearby stores,” TR Ramachandran, Group Country Manager, India and South Asia, Visa said.

He said as the number of consumers and merchants coming online goes up, seamless and secure digital payment experiences are essential to ensure they continue using digital payments and Visa continues to simplify payments with products like tokenisation. “With India’s smartphone base expected to reach 820 million in the next two years, both SBI and Visa firmly believe there is a tremendous opportunity to augment them as payment acceptance devices,” said the release.

After the deployment of the service, merchants will also be able to access details of transactions, generate reports, upload transactions for processing etc through SBI’s mobile application besides accepting payments on their mobile device.



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TECHNOLOGY

Twitter Fleets Gets Twemoji Stickers, Some Android Users Can Now Access Twitter Spaces Audio-Chatroom

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Twitter’s version of Snapchat Stories, called Fleets is now getting a new update that brings Twemoji Stickers tray. The latest feature enables users to add emojis or stickers to Fleets for a better visual appeal. Until now, the Fleets feature on the Twitter Android or iOS app only allowed users to add text over photos or videos. Users could still add emojis if the keyboard had in-built emoji options; however, the latest feature gives access to more 3D-enhanced stickers directly. Moreover, Twitter Spaces, a Clubhouse-inspired audio-chat room is reportedly rolling out to select Android customers.

The Twemoji option for Twitter Fleets is now rolling out to users in Japan and will likely reach other markets in the coming months. The Twemoji button sits next to the text button, as per a photo shared by Twitter. Additionally, the Twemoji currently appears to be limited to iOS users while availability details for Android client remain unclear. Though the feature does not seem to be substantial, it is likely that Twitter would soon add more options like AR filters – similar to what Facebook offers with Stories on Instagram. Notably, the micro-blogging company acquired Chroma Labs last year, the team behind Chroma Stories. The app basically allowed users to add a range of colourful frames and filters to their Stories content.

In another Twitter-related news, some Android users are now getting an early preview of Twitter Spaces, a Clubhouse-inspired voice-based conversation room right on the platform. According to Android Police, Android users who have access cannot start Spaces chatroom yet but can join others and react with emojis. The company is expected to roll out the stable version in March, though the availability may vary according to regions. Twitter Spaces has been available to select iOS users since early February. Twitter Product Designer Maya Patterson had previously explained that the Spaces feature is meant to create a safe space for intimate conversations in public. It will essentially allow users to join or start a voice-based chatroom where they can discuss any topic. Admins will have control over who can speak or join.



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