New Delhi vegetable vendor Abbas Ali, 48, started accepting digital payments in 2021 but because he does not read or write, had to call his son to confirm payments had arrived when customers paid online. Then he learned about a “sound box”, which reads out payment confirmation messages in English and many Indian languages. Since Paytm, India’s largest fintech company introduced it in 2019, the sound box has become a runaway hit among small Indian businesses, especially as the government’s unified payments interface allows users to make instant bank transfers with mobile phones. Sound box subscriptions also have become a lucrative revenue stream for Indian fintech companies while solving a perennial issue for the small businesses by confirming in real time that money has been paid.

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