Exclusive Interview with Sujit Misra, Director, Amazon APAC Payments, Amazon: Purpose Bound Money (PBM) can foster an era of new technologies that enable modern, fast, and inexpensive payments.

TDB: Given the already prevailing mass adoption of digital payments at least domestically within Singapore and reasonably banked population segment in the city-state, how would you define inclusivity through fintech? Are there remaining pockets of underserved segments and where are the opportunities?

Sujit Misra, Director, Amazon APAC Payments, Amazon: As a global company, inclusivity to us means that our customers, regardless of where they live, have access to Amazon stores via a payment method of choice. In the spirit of customer choice and convenience, we’re always considering how the payment landscape is shifting for our customers in Singapore and what payment methods are gaining traction and relevancy so that we can make shopping on Amazon.sg as convenient and safe as possible. For example, last year we introduced PayNow for Amazon.sg customers in Singapore and have seen good adoption, despite high card penetration in Singapore. When we think about ensuring access for our customers, our approach is shaped by the core belief that building payment inclusivity is the future of global commerce. While we operate at scale, we also know that Payments is a local business. Across our global footprint of online stores and digital services in more than 35 countries, we accept over 30 forms of payment as part of our commitment to meeting the diverse needs of the communities we serve.

TDB: The Purpose Bound Money (PBM) concept enables senders to embed rules when making transfers in digital dollars. Do you anticipate some hesitancy from users given the perceived restrictions imposed through programmability? How can you build the required trust and confidence?

Sujit Misra, Director, Amazon APAC Payments, Amazon: We are of the belief that programmability has the potential to offer both customers and merchants efficient, effective, and faster transactions. With any new payment method, ensuring that products and systems operate with strong data security, privacy, and fraud mitigation is crucial to adoption, and these are aspects that are table stakes for us when we consider offering new payment methods for our customers. Key to delivering products that meet these standards and strike a balance with offering an excellent customer experience is partnership between private and public sectors in order to ensure security, access and a great customer experience exist simultaneously.

TDB: What are the observable benefits and value of using PBM in retail settings, particularly in addressing gaps found within existing commercial voucher schemes?

Sujit Misra, Director, Amazon APAC Payments, Amazon: PBM can foster an era of new technologies that enable modern, fast, and inexpensive payments. Programmability can facilitate both increased automation and accelerated innovation — it already has the capability to automate manual processes, speed up funds settlement, and eliminate reconciliations. Over time, it could result in lower costs and hence lower prices for consumers. To the extent it sparks innovation, it makes possible entirely new user experiences and merchant workflows. Right now, PBM is at a stage where merchants can play a decisive role in designing features that promote adoption and an overall customer journey that fosters trust and confidence in the programmable money system.

 TDB: What other use cases do you see for PBM that Amazon is keen to explore and experiment with in enhancing current payment infrastructures? 

Sujit Misra, Director, Amazon APAC Payments, Amazon: Expanding and deepening access to high-quality financial services for SMEs is an important part of our mental model for financial inclusion. By partnering with MAS and the banks, we hope to develop a mechanism for addressing merchant needs to improve payment terms and mitigate risks to cross-border trade financing. We also see the potential for Purpose Bound Money to allow sellers to secure financing in a wider range of denominations and at a lower cost to improve working capital, as fuel for their growth and expansion.

 

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