Paytm announces food wallet, a tax-free food allowance for employees

In a strange solution to removing the cumbersome process of sodexo coupon redemption, Paytm is launching tax-free food allowance for employees by the name of Paytm Food wallet. This names employers to easily enable food allowance for employees, which can be redeemed at a range of partner food joints.

Announcing the feature on its blog post, Paytm said,

Every working Indian is eligible for a tax-free food allowance of Rs 50/meal up to Rs 2,200 per month. However, between easily spoilt paper coupons, low acceptability and expiry dates, 60 lakh Indians struggle to file their food voucher claims every year.

Paytm Food wallet is baked right in the same Paytm wallet app and will act as a separate channel of payments. This will be used exclusively for food and beverage payments, that you can use at a range of partner food joints, bars, grocery shopping chains and more. The list includes KFC, Burger King, Zomato, Pizza Hut, Café Coffee Day and Big Bazaar among others.

Talking about the payout options, Paytm says that employers can choose to send food allowance to employees on a daily, monthly or quarterly payout basis. Similar to the regular Paytm wallet balance, the Paytm Food wallet will stay on the users’ accounts and will never expire. Technically though, it is limited at 10 years value, which can be easily expanded, says the company.

While this might look like an innovative feature at the front, it baffles me as on why they would introduce something as such. A new channel looks more confusing, the feature otherwise could have been achieved by integration a solution within the same Paytm wallet account instead of launching Paytm Food wallet. A backend system could have been setup instead that will enable businesses to signup for this feature, to issue food money to employers, instead of making this live for all users.

Interestingly Udio already has a similar feature that categorizes fuel money, food vouchers and similar balances as a separate channel, away from the existing Udio wallet money which could be used at any place, anytime