To sell payment services in rural India, MoneyOnMobile borrows a U.S. model
In India, tens of millions of merchants still operate largely in cash with a mostly unbanked rural population. Technology could solve their problems, but the bigger differentiator may be in how payment services are sold.
In the U.S., the longstanding independent sales organization (ISO) model has faced deep disruption over the past decade, following the debut of Square and other mobile card-acceptance devices. Though the hardware of the early mobile POS was extremely basic, companies like Square succeeded by making their products more accessible. Rather than talk to an ISO or agent, a small merchant could pick up a card reader for $10 at a convenience store.
In rural parts of India, the opposite pattern is playing out. MoneyOnMobile, a Mumbai-based company launched in 2010, relies on a local sales force of independent agents who earn commissions from signing up retailers to support services that include bill payment and domestic remittances conducted via SMS texts on mobile phones.
Photo courtesy of Meena Kadri.