India has graduated from the offline world to ordering products and services online and even using apps and the mobile Internet for purchases. It’s time to take the next step; it’s time to use the mobile wallet. Mobile wallets can be broadly defined as: “payment services operated under financial regulation and performed from or via a mobile device” and have evolved to become a viable alternative to paying with cash, cheque, or credit cards.
Such a virtual wallet acts as a place to store cash online. You make payments using this money instead of using a credit card, debit card or net banking. Therefore the bank account remains untouched and secure. However, adding money to the wallet will require you to use the above methods. For added security, mobile wallet account values in India are limited to a maximum of Rs. 10,000. Most wallets have their mobile apps to easily check the balance and make purchases.
The foremost wallet service providers in India are Paytm with Paytm Wallet, MobiKwik, and Oxyigen Wallet. Telecoms also offer wallet services like Vodafone’s limited-release M-Pesa, and Airtel Money. As was the case for companies convincing customers to migrate to new platforms like ordering online or through mobile apps, since the concept of a mobile wallet is new, most such companies offer great discounts, deals, and free top-ups on sign-up.
Process Of Acquiring A Mobile Wallet:
- You download an app / sign-up for a service
- You provide your details and setup a password
- You deposit an amount into the wallet through debit/credit card or netbanking, dedicated stores, etc.
- You start using the balance in your wallet wherever accepted
The MobiKwik wallet offers a ‘cash pay’ facility which is a doorstep cash collection service to load the mobile wallet.
As mobile wallets are gaining in acceptance and popularity, a rising number of online merchants are starting to accept mobile wallets as a payment channel.
Uses of a Mobile Wallet:
- Order food online
- Shop online
- Pay directly for taxi services
- Pay utility bills
- Recharge DTH connections
- Transfer money to someone else’s mobile wallet or even to a bank account
- Book movie tickets
- Recharge pre-paid mobile accounts
- Book train tickets
In 2014, Airtel Money partnered with Satyamev Jayate so users could donate directly for their favourite causes simply through the Airtel Money system.
In India, the instrument permitted is that of a ‘semi-closed wallet’; therefore, once you have transferred money to the wallet, it cannot be withdrawn directly by you.
- Card details are not revealed to merchants
- Payments get easier and faster
- One can limit spends to the amount filled into the virtual wallet
- One does not have to rely on the formal banking system for all monetary transactions
- Can take advantage of offers and discounts which are exclusive to the mobile wallet
- Adds tremendous financial functionality to a phone or tablet while limiting risks
- Can shop directly within a wallet provider’s marketplace to get the benefits of offers
- Earn reward points for spending through the wallet
With the Reserve Bank’s latest update, mobile wallet companies may soon be able to morph into Payment Banks in the due course of time, thereby bringing the benefits of an organized financial system to the mobile as well as the unbanked sections of society.