- Aims to empower over 2 crore retail merchants in the country with seamless banking services, digitally
- Offers instant banking facilities and value-added services in one place to enhance the productivity and efficiency of merchants.
Mumbai: ICICI Bank today announced the launch of its ‘Merchant Stack’, a set of the country’s most comprehensive digital banking services specially curated for retail merchants. The array of banking, as well as value-added services, enables merchants — grocers, supermarkets, large retail store chains, online businesses and large e-commerce firms— to meet their banking requirements seamlessly so that they can continue to serve their customers in the challenging times during the pandemic.
This initiative is in line with the Bank’s principle of ‘Business with Care’. Retail merchants can avail of these contactless services, without visiting the Bank’s branches, at a time when people are advised to stay home and maintain social distancing. They can avail of these facilities instantly, on InstaBIZ, the Bank’s mobile banking application for businesses.
Commenting on the launch, Mr Anup Bagchi, ICICI Bank said, “We always believe that the self-employed and the MSME segment forms the backbone of the Indian economy. A large part of this segment consists of retail merchants. There are over 2 crore merchants in the country with approximately USD 780 billion in value of transactions in 2020. They are expected to grow rapidly in the coming years. Through these trying times of the pandemic, it is our endeavour to enable the merchants with a digital banking platform that will help them to continue to serve their customers.
We have thus launched the ‘Merchant Stack’, which most importantly offers a range of ‘contactless’ banking services, providing safety to the merchants and their customers alike. This new offering is part of our guiding principle of ‘Business with Care’. It is also a continuation of ‘ICICI Stack’ which we launched a year ago to offer retail customers all digital banking services from one platform.
‘Merchant Stack’ provides a bouquet of banking solutions and value-added services in ‘one single place’ for the retailer eco-system.
The main pillars of the ‘Merchant Stack’ are given below:
1. Super Merchant Current Account: It is a zero-balance account linked to the usage of the Bank’s POS (Point-of-Sale) facilities. The merchants can continue to get the advantage of the zero balance account for a lifetime, till they use these facilities. Any merchant, even if not a customer of ICICI Bank, can digitally open the account. The Super Merchant Current Account is available in two variants —Super Advantage and Super Advantage Plus — to suit the requirements of merchants as per the size of operations.
Additionally, the current account offers retailers the convenience of transacting with their customers using multiple digital modes of payment including cards, UPI and payment gateway. Similarly, merchants also get various options for making digital payments for their businesses. They also get the benefit of instant reconciliation by using the Bank’s ‘Connected Banking’ platform, which integrates banking and their accounting system, saving them both time and effort.
2. Instant Credit Facilities: The ‘Merchant Stack’ offers two instant credit facilities, based on POS transactions — both being industry first initiatives. The first one, called ‘Merchant Overdraft’ empowers pre-qualified merchants with a linked ICICI Bank POS machine to get upto Rs 25 lakh digitally, instantaneously and in a completely online and paperless manner. The facility leverages advanced data analytics at the Bank to form a new scorecard with various parameters to assess the credit eligibility of merchants using their POS transactions. The new credit assessment method of the Bank is a marked improvement over the traditional industry practice of using only bank statements, financial statements and income returns to offer working capital facilities. Once the overdraft limit is set up, merchants can start using the funds instantly to meet their working capital requirements. This offers significance convenience to borrowers as they no longer need to wait for few working days to avail an OD facility.
3. Digital Store Management: For merchants wanting to expand their business in the online world, the ‘Digital Store Management’ platform is available. It offers a one-stop-solution, which enables merchants to transform their ‘physical store’ into a ‘digital store’ within half-an-hour. It also helps them to manage invoicing, inventory and collections.
4. Exclusive Loyalty Programme: The ‘Merchant Stack’ offers a loyalty rewards programme for merchants, another industry first feature. With this, merchants using the Bank’s Eazypay facility to accept instant cashless payments from customers through POS/QR solution, get points for transactions that can be redeemed for shopping, vouchers, vacations among others.
Any merchant can enjoy the benefits of the ‘Merchant Stack’ by simply downloading the InstaBIZ app from Google Play Store or Apple App Store. Merchants, who are not the customers of the Bank, can also avail the benefits of the stack by instantly opening a zero balance current account using the InstaBIZ app in a digital manner. ‘InstaBIZ’ can also be accessed on the Bank’s Corporate Internet Banking (CIB) platform.