"Digitization has simplified our life and without the digital presence we seem so handicapped!"
In this world of virtuality, where friends exist, we converse without actually meeting them, could look for traffic health of Las Vegas Streets, visit Ajanta and Ellora caves from your laptop and watch your favorite sports as good as live expecting cash to be managed and carried in a wallet would seem unfair. That’s one of the reasons that we could see and feel its digital presence with the mobile wallets, online transfer, bitcoins, virtual currency and vouchers!Our current post would throw some light on one of the companion of the digital money – EVDS or Electronic Voucher Distribution System and how it could ease a consumer’s life.
- What is Electronic Voucher Distribution System [EVDS]?
Electronic Voucher distribution system are simple vending machines that provide printed/digital vouchers to consumers for services like – prepaid mobile recharge, DTH recharge, etc. An EVDS comprises of two components – a centralized web server and an access terminal, which can be a feature phone, smart phone, PC/Laptop/tablet or a POS terminal. The services could be consumed over these devices via web interface, a native application on mobile, SMS or USSD. The EVDS services which could be airtime, electricity, taxes, school fees, taxes collection, loans, premiums etc, can be bought directly by the end consumer or through assisted retail channels. Assisted retail channel is a dominant distribution network across the developing nations serving the bottom of the pyramid population who aren’t savvy enough to operate these applications as yet.
In case of an assisted retail sale of a prepaid mobile recharge, the retailer initiates a request by punching the mobile number, service provider, and denomination; that request is then sent to the server, where after authentication of the transaction confirmation is sent back with the recharge code. The consumer could use his mobile wallet/or pay with cash and get the recharge code. The access terminal at retail touch point either prints the voucher or sends the virtual voucher to consumers mobile.
- The Past and the Present of EVDS
It is believed that the first voucher was introduced in 1932, and the rest is history! However with time, its issuing has changed drastically. The good olden days when the vouchers were presented as a “token gift” manually, could now be accessed on your Smartphone with a single-click.
So How EVDS came into picture, let’s dive into its history –
It is believed that Voucher System came into the picture to facilitate education, i.e. providing education at a subsidized rate. Later with its simplicity and plainness, the Voucher system was adopted by other sectors as well like Tourism, Food, and Retail, etc. With adoption came a need of more robust and stout issuing system as managing paper with conditions and reaching out to retailer and consumers was a challenge.
In 1974, the Americans gave the world the instant scratch-off lottery ticket that was initially adopted for gambling but served as a milestone to EVDS.
The Evolution Cycle of Electronic Voucher Distribution System [EVDS]
Scratch Card Distribution System
The scratch-card distribution system work in the a following manner, the PIN information was stored in an electronic format and then printed on to a scratch card, which was later dispatched to the agents via distributors. The Agent would sell it to the Retailers and from there it would be bought by the consumer. The overall process because of being manual was time-consuming and also holding dead inventory or blocking money for long across various SKUs was another issue. Theft and leakage was a big concern with many workers on the shop and a physical card had the pin and a scratch away for anyone.
SMS Based Distribution System
When in 1992 the first SMS sent out successfully, nobody knew if that could be a way to send voucher information to the consumers. The SMS based voucher distribution took off quite elegantly because it was quick and instantaneous. The authorized dealers would send a request to the server for PIN information and once received the voucher details were send directly to the customer.
Web Based Distribution System
The Internet that started as early as 1969 made Voucher System much more accessible that too at a super fast speed. However, the inclination to use vouchers started in late 2008 and early 2009. You may find many Internet websites devoted to promoting these deals and vouchers online, as well as Facebook groups offering items such as student discounts and 2-for-1 restaurant voucher deals.
Electronic Voucher Distribution System
The principle although was based on Scratch Card Distribution System, but was instantaneous. All the PIN information were stored in an electronic format in a server, a retailer who wishes to provide a mobile recharge voucher to its consumer would initiate a request, that would be authorized by the server. Once authorization is done, the request is processed, and acknowledgment along with details is sent back to the access terminal (Phone/PC or POS terminal) at retailer’s sale touch point, with the recharge amount.
Benefits offered by EVDS
Systematic and Structured Approach
Reducing chances of theft and fraud
Access from anytime, anywhere
Online and offline transaction modes available
No need to carry exact change, flexible denomination voucher are available
As a distributor, one could manage multi-service providers with a single device
Minimal installation and operational cost
Instantaneous, Flexible yet simple in operation
Guaranteed quality assurance
The Markets that Are most Viable and Market Makers
Before we jump into the Markets Viability, let’s give it a thought of why and what are the areas where we need vouchers?
- Voucher System is a way to prevent misusing of cash.
- Voucher system helps in providing“assistance” to a needy one like issuing of Rental Vouchers or issuing of farming vouchers.
- Voucher systems also are used for tax saving purposes like in India availing Sodexho/Accor meal vouchers.
- The voucher system is also used by travelers to avoid cuts in cross-currency rates.
- The voucher system is also used as a marketing strategy to attract more shoppers.
- The voucher system is also helping in creating employment by training and developing skills with the help of skills voucher.
- Voucher system also allows a handshake between private and public partnership.
The conclusion that could be drawn is the voucher system is aimed to help and boost the economic condition of the country and the people. Some of the sectors that mostly need vouchers and that would need an EVDS are –
The Promising Future
After getting into what, when, how and why of EVDS one thing is for sure – Vouchers are the way to the Future!
On one hand when Voucher codes are being used to avail daily services like mobile recharge, DTH recharge, virtual currencies, digital content or remittances on the other it is a way to provide comfortable and contended environment to people who need to avail education, food or skills or pay taxes.
With vouchers being delivered with pinless recharge and delivery mode, other advancements like customized vouchers tailoring as per user needs, shareable vouchers when crowd prefer to “share” what they found, mobile vouchers could also be seen. In fact few of the vouchers are also now “hidden vouchers” with vouchers being saved onto customer’s loyalty card.
EVDS that is already on its way to attract customers is a healthy “here and now” solution that perfectly fits into any financial system. With its simplicity in use, EVDS is getting comfortable in any distribution channels, due to the flexibility of converting the cash into a digital payment method.
Content Strategist : Samiksha Seth
Head - Product Innovation : Anurag Rastogi