May 22, 2019 / 8:24 AM / in a month

Wirecard teams up with India to issue PAN cards

The headquarters of Wirecard AG, an independent provider of outsourcing and white label solutions for electronic payment transactions is seen in Aschheim near Munich, Germany April 25, 2019. REUTERS/Michael Dalder/Files

FRANKFURT (Reuters) - German payments company Wirecard said on Wednesday it would work with India to simplify the process of issuing tax identity cards required to open bank accounts, transfer money or complete business transactions.

The deal, with state company UTI Infrastructure Technology and Financial Services, seeks to widen the distribution of so-called PAN cards in the country of 1.3 billion where most people still live and work in the informal economy.

Wirecard, which is already present in India, said its network of 15,000 retail agents in 350 cities would help collect and scan in the documents that people need to apply for a PAN card.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi, expected to be confirmed for a second term when election results are announced on Thursday, wants to broaden financial inclusion and has already implemented a universal biometric identity card scheme.

Munich-based Wirecard, founded in 1999, runs a digital payments platform that handles payments for merchants and issues real and ‘virtual’ payment cards to consumers. It mainly operates under arrangements that allow their partners to rebrand their products.

It most recently announced a deal with French department store group Printemps to make it easier for Chinese shoppers to pay with the popular WeChat app.

The company has been a repeated target of attacks by short sellers - speculators who seek to profit from share price falls - who have alleged financial wrongdoing. Most recently, the Financial Times has run a series of investigative reports on the company alleging accounting fraud.

Wirecard has denied the FT’s allegations and is suing the newspaper.

Reporting by Douglas Busvine, editing by Louise Heavens

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