Every morning, like clockwork, MBA student Nandan Toshniwal opens FreshMenu and orders himself breakfast. While he always knows what to order, when it comes to payment, he pauses. Cashbacks draw him to wallets. But he’s often short. So what does he do? Enter Pay Later. One click, no immediate transaction, and he’s done.

Now, the 25-year-old runs an advertising company, and Pay Later has become a habit for him. “I have abandoned wallets. Pay Later is my default option as I have a credit limit of Rs 10,000 every week. On merchants where Pay Later is not available, I use my debit card,” he says. “I get one itemised bill every 15 days and that captures all the payments I made to buy movie tickets, order food, buy groceries. It’s simple, really,” he insists.

Toshniwal’s switch points to a larger opportunity—the wallet-sized hole in the payments ecosystem in India. Unified Payment Interface (UPI), currently the fastest way to pay online, comes closest to filling this hole. But not entirely. At last count, you had net banking, credit cards, debit cards, wallets, UPI, Aadhaar Pay, all of which have two forms of authentication. For the Reserve Bank of India, two-factor authentication (2fa) is like the sacred cow. It can never be sacrificed.

But Pay Later has found a way around this. The two-year-old payment option is a one-click wonder with no One Time Pin (OTP), no m-pin, no CVV, no mother’s birth date and first boss’ name, no biometrics, and no Aadhaar number.

Over a 100 online merchants, such as those for food delivery, movies, travel tickets and utilities, have included the Pay Later product of Simpl, Lazy Pay or Paytm PostPaid (available only for a cross-section of users who use Paytm and bank with ICICI Bank). About a million people use this option (who might not all be unique). But while some use it as a payment option, others see it as a credit fix. Paytm did not want to comment on this article but it reportedly has about 10,000 users. 

Varun Jain, who runs a B2B business, sees it as a faster way to pay. The 30-year-old businessman orders from FreshMenu and uses Dunzo for tasks at least twice a week, spending Rs 300-500 each time. Having lived in the US for five years, he says he misses the single-click experience in India. But for others, like 22-year-old Abhishek Balaji in his first job as a content producer, Pay Later is a replacement for credit as banks wouldn’t offer him credit cards. “I want money in my account to be able to make large payments like rent; I didn’t want the main cash flow getting affected,” he says. He uses Pay Later to avoid cash transactions.

Wallets, UPI, and now Pay Later, are all cash replacements. Pay Later is riding on the momentum that wallets gained in three years.

AUTHOR

Arundhati Ramanathan

Arundhati is Bengaluru-based. She is interested in how people use money in the digital age and how new economies will take shape based on that interaction. She has spent over 10 years reporting and writing on various subjects. Previous stints were at Mint, Outlook Business and Reuters.

View Full Profile

Subscribe to read this story

The Ken is the only business subscription you need. Questions?

 

Premium

  • 5 original and reported longform business stories every week
  • Access to ONLY India edition
  • Close to 250 exclusive stories every year
  • Full access to over 5 years of paywalled stories
  • Pick up to 5 premium subscriber newsletters
  • 4 original and reported longform business stories each week
  • Access to ONLY Southeast Asia edition
  • Close to 200 exclusive stories every year
  • Full access to all paywalled stories since March 2020
  • Pick up to 5 premium subscriber newsletters

Rs. 2,750 /year

$ 120 /year

India Edition
Subscribe Subscribe
Most Asked For

Borderless

  • 8 original and reported longform business stories each week
  • Access to both India and Southeast Asia editions
  • Close to 400 exclusive stories every year
  • Full access to over 5 years of paywalled stories across India and Southeast Asia
  • Unlimited access to all premium subscriber newsletters
  • Visual Stories

Rs. 4,200 /year

Subscribe
 

Echelon

  • 8 original and reported longform business stories each week
  • Access to both India and Southeast Asia editions
  • Close to 400 exclusive stories every year
  • Full access to over 5 years of paywalled stories across India and Southeast Asia
  • Unlimited access to all premium subscriber newsletters
  • Visual Stories
  • Bonus annual gift subscription
  • Priority access to all new products and features

Rs. 8,474 /year

Subscribe
Or

Questions?

What kind of subscription plans do you offer?

We have three types of subscriptions
- Premium which gives you access to either the India or the Southeast Asia edition.
- Borderless which gives you complete access to The Ken across both editions
- Echelon which gives you complete access to The Ken across both editions along with a bonus gift subscription

What do I get if I subscribe?

The Premium edition gives you access to stories in that edition along with any five subscriber-only newsletters of your choice.

The Borderless and Echelon subscription gives you complete access to The Ken across editions and unlimited access to as many newsletters as you like.

What topics do you usually write about?

We publish sharp, original and reported stories on technology, business and healthcare. Our stories are forward-looking, analytical and directional — supported by data, visualisations and infographics. We use language and narrative that is accessible to even lay readers. And we optimise for quality over quantity, every single time.

Our specialised subscriber-only newsletters are written by our expert, award-winning journalists and cover a range of topics across finance, retail, clean energy, cryptocurrency, ed-tech and many more.

How many newsletters do you have?

We are constantly adding specialised subscriber-only newsletters all the time. All of these are written by our team of award-winning journalists on a specialised topic.

You can see the list of newsletters that we publish over here.

Does a Premium subscription to your Indian edition get me access to the Southeast Asia edition? Or vice-versa?

Afraid not. Each edition is separate with its own subscription plan. The India edition publishes stories focused on India. The Southeast Asia edition is focused on Southeast Asia. We may occasionally cross-publish stories from one edition to the other.

We recommend the Borderless or the Echelon Plan which will give you access to stories across both editions.

Do you have a mobile app?

Yes! We have a top-rated mobile app on both iOS and Android which allows you to read on-the-go and has some amazing features like the ability to bookmark stories, save on your device, dark mode, and much more. It’s really the best way to read The Ken.

Is there a free trial?

You can sign up for a free account to experience The Ken and understand our products better. We’ll send you some free stories and newsletters occasionally, and you can access our archive of previously published free stories. You can stay on the free account as long as you’d like.

The vast majority of our stories, articles and newsletters can be accessed only by a paid subscription.

Do you offer any discounts?

Sorry, no. Our journalism is funded completely by our subscribers. We believe that quality journalism comes at a price, and readers trust and pay us so that we can remain independent.

Do you offer refunds?

No. We allow you to sample our journalism for free before signing up, and after you do, we stand by its quality. But we do not offer refunds.

I am facing some trouble purchasing a subscription. What can I do?

Just write to us at support@the-ken.com with details. We’ll help you out.

I have a few more questions. How can I reach out to you?

Sure. Just email us at info@the-ken.com or follow us on Twitter.