In a move that could ease paper money’s stranglehold over the Indian economy and society, Mobikwik is releasing a mobile wallet for the country’s burgeoning smartphone-class to digitally buy goods directly from merchants. The Reserve Bank of India (RBI) is empowering payment companies to facilitate more digital transactions in order to create some competitive tension for existing players and the country’s biggest banks and telcos — which have so far failed to unleash the full potential of new technologies.
The cash culture, and general fear and difficulty to use credit cards, is holding back the revolutionary forces of more efficient, scalable payment systems
Mobikwik is the latest company to try solve this problem with its new mobile wallet available for Android and iOS devices, launched today. CEO Bipin Singh is promising a simple, one-click digital experience to purchase a range of products or services, such as mobile minutes, pay utility bills or even movie tickets, from about 500 merchants. He said customers can directly load up the wallet from their bank account or a credit card and start buying, with the funds being transferred to the merchant as soon as the transaction is completed (eventually he hopes to allow customers to top up their accounts via cash, with collection agents coming to your doorstep). Importantly, the Reserve Bank has licensed the company to allow customers to withdraw money from their account.
It will compete with products such as Airtel’s Money launched two years ago and other players, including the State Bank of India, Money On Mobile, and ZipCash.
Mobikwik already has about 1.5 million active users for its existing online and closed wallet which, like most other “wallets” available today, work like vouchers redeemable at a range of affiliated merchants but can’t be cashed out for legal tender. It processes 75,000 transactions each day with an average customer transaction around 120 rupees (~$2).