That was quick: a little over a month after it was allocated a semi-closed prepaid payment license by the Reserve Bank of India, mobile payment startup Mobikwik has launched Mobikwik Wallet, its mobile wallet reports TechCrunch. Along with Mobikwik, three other entities have received the license – Paytm, QuikCliver and HotRemit, and we wonder how long it will be before Paytm launches its prepaid wallet solution. They recently announced plans to launch a digital goods marketplace.
Mobikwik has launched merchants on its platform (we’d mentioned that they were likely to create a marketplace), and some of the merchants include: Yepme, Ticketgoose and FloristinIndia. New merchants can sign up here. “A key focus for MobiKwik will be to acquire third party merchants on the mobile platform and to enable the MobiKwik wallet as a payment option on them. Merchant tie-ups will be across category leaders in ticketing (bus, train, movies), food ordering, online shopping, digital goods, gaming, donations, etc.” the company has said.
Prior to the launch of the Mobikwik wallet, the company was operating a closed wallet system for bill payment and transactions on its own platform, and another prepaid payment licensee – Atom Technologies – was powering the Mobikwik wallet, which worked along with the Zaakpay payment gateway (which has the same founders has Mobikwik).
Mobikwik claims 2.5 million users over two years, saying that it gets 10,000 new user signups every day, and powers 75,000 transactions daily, a majority of them via mobile, half of them via its mobile app, which has a million downloads. Note that at least when it comes to the Mobkwik wallet, we’ve raised the issue of wallets/accounts being created without explicit user consent, even though that issue has been addressed since to some extent.
What’s interesting here is that since the semi-closed wallet requires an explicit signup, and Mobkwik cannot transition its user base from a closed wallet to a semi-closed wallet. Singh clarified that there are no RBI guidelines which prevent transitioning, and frankly, we don’t see why there should be – consumers are getting the opportunity to use their money to pay for more goods and service, instead of being restricted to a single merchants offerings.
What you’ve written in the article can be interpreted to say that Mobikwik is converting all its closed wallet users to semi-closed wallet users – possibly without informing them or without any use case for semi-closed wallet. This is not true because we are not doing this.
A semi-closed wallet requires an explicit sign up ( as you had pointed out earlier) and this is exactly what we are doing.
The semi-closed prepaid payments wallet allows customers to add up to Rs 50,000 by credit or debit card, Internet banking or cash cards. MobiKwik has apps for Android, Apple, J2ME and Blackberry, and transactions are also possible via their website, SMS. The company is planning to launch a Windows App.
A few other points:
- Money withdrawn: While the TechCrunch story claims says that the RBI has licensed the company to allow customers to withdraw money from their account, please note that this isn’t entirely true: the semi-closed prepaid wallet license allows money to be deposited and used for payments, but for withdrawal, it’s necessary for it to be linked to a bank account, and money can be withdrawn to a bank account only. Airtel Money operates in a similar manner.
- One click or not? The TechCrunch story and the Mobikwik’s website claim that the company offers a one click payment solution for payments. Mobikwik Founder and CEO Bipin Preet Singh told MediaNama via email that they are still going to use the OTP and 3D secure or Verified By Visa (VBV) can be used within a browser flow. He declined to share details of their plans for a 1-click payment, because “it’s part of an app product we are yet to publicly announce”.
Update: an earlier version of this article had inadvertantly inferred that Mobikwik might be transferring users from a closed wallet to a semi-closed one straight away. Mobikwik informs us that they are getting an explicit consent from their customers for the semi-closed prepaid wallet, as required.