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Upasana Taku on why Axis, Airtel, BSNL do not worry MobiKwik

India had become home to over 213 million mobile internet users, according to a report by the Internet & Mobile Association of India (IAMAI) and IMRB International and the encouraging trend is expected to continue. But unfortunately only a small number i.e. 30-35 million users are able to realise the benefits of internet on mobile. In conversation with Digital Market Asia, Upasana Taku, Co-Founder and Chief Executive Officer of MobiKwik shares the scenario around digital wallets in India.

“A year ago, consumers were using mobile wallet only for mobile recharges but today 50 per cent of our transactions are happening across verticals such as travel, shopping, food, entertainment, electronics, clothes, etc,” said Ms Taku outlining the expanse of MobiKwik’s services.

“We are 25,000 merchants across online and offline where each user is doing between seven-10 transactions every month,” she added.

Tie up with merchants
MobiKwik, an online prepaid digital payment platform, seeks to make its presence felt across all avenues of a consumer by collaborating with merchants across the board. The platform has tied up with Big Bazaar to foster digital payments for items of daily needs such as grocery. It has also partnered with Meru Cabs to enter the travelling segment, and several restaurants in the food industry.

“We are also present in the ecommerce industry as more consumers are opting for digital payments instead of cash on delivery in ecommerce and we expect this trend to grow. In addition to Café Coffee Day, Domino’s, WH Smith, we have also partnered with Jabong, Myntra, and eBay. Our most recent partnership includes Zivame.com,” said Ms Taku.

Competition in the space
In the mobile wallet space, MobiKwik is unperturbed by services such as Airtel Money, BSNL’s mobile wallet of new-comer Axis Bank’s Ping Pay. But Paytm is one player it is watching out for. “Paytm is focussed on driving the consumer to its platform where it is selling different products and services. They are acquiring consumers and have very few merchants,” according to Ms Taku.

“But we work closely with merchants such as Jabong, Myntra, eBay, Jet Airways, MakeMyTrip and partnering with them and sending them new users who will transact on their platform,” she said explaining MobiKwik’s model.

Commenting on Axis Bank’s Ping Pay app, Ms Taku said, “Banks with outsourced product development do not succeed in the app business, despite heavy advertising. They are doing this on back of the traction they have seen in the third payment digital payment space but 16 MB apps cannot work in India. We were a 500 KB app for a long time and still under 1 MB in size, today.”

Challenges in digital payments
There is a large population of users on mobile but our economy continues to be run largely on cash. Ms Taku attributed the challenges of digital payment to low acceptance of digital cash by merchants. “In a large country like India there are only 300,000 point of sale or machines where you can swipe a card,” she said.

While there are television and digital campaigns prompting people to explore different features on their smartphones and embrace the technology, it will take sincere effort in terms of technology and infrastructure from the government and private-run companies to change the landscape of digital payments in India.

“Changing consumer mindset from going cash to digital and also creating a network and infrastructure where consumers are actually able to realise the benefits of digital payments are important to push the adoption of digital wallets in India,” Ms Taku concluded.

Under its new initiatives, MobiKwik is driving consumer to load cash into their wallets in the Delhi-National Capital Region through its campaign Cash Pick-up, where it has seen huge uptick in the demand for that service on a daily basis. “Through this initiative we are enabling people with no credit or debit card to make payments digitally via a mobile wallet. Going forward, we seek to expand this service to more cities in India,” Ms Taku said.

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