Meru logo

On the heels of Olacabs launching an in-app wallet, radio cab service Meru Cabs has also released an in-app prepaid wallet to offer cashless taxi rides.

The company has tied up with Sequoia Capital-backed digital payments solutions provider Citrus Pay to offer this feature. Note that Citrus Pay had secured a prepaid wallet license from the RBI in October last year. More so, Meru Cabs also owns these taxis unlike Olacabs which primarily acts as a taxi aggregator.

Meru Cabs mentions that users can reload their Citrus wallet through credit or debit card or through net banking and after the ride completion, the fare amount is automatically deducted from their wallet. Meru is also offering a 5% cash back on their wallet recharge at the moment, in a possible bid to encourage more users to use the wallet.

RBI online billing guidelines

This is quite similar to what Uber was doing (and is still doing) since its launch in India, except for the fact that it was routing their transactions through foreign payment gateways, that allowed them to charge customers for recurring transactions without the RBI’s mandated 2-factor authentication.

In July this year, Meru Cabs asked Reserve Bank Of India (RBI) to extend its recurring billing guidelines to foreign players like Uber as well, thereby creating a level playing field among domestic and International players.

A month later, Reserve Bank of India (RBI) issued a directive that entities that route online billing internationally, for goods and services purchased online using Indian cards, need to include a second factor of authentication, and route transactions through a bank in India.

In a blog post following this RBI directive, Meru Cabs CEO Siddhartha Pahwa mentioned that they voiced these concerns to seek “parity for the whole e-commerce retail industry.” and said he was ready to collaborate with others in the industry to figure out improving the payment experience without compromising safety norms of using cards online.

He mentioned that the usage of foreign payment gateways violated both RBI guidelines and FEMA rules and noted that Meru was ready to launch a similar mobile app without the two-factor-authentication a long time ago, but decided against it since they wanted to follow “the laws of the land”. More on that here.

With Meru Cabs and Olacabs launching an in-app wallet and Uber reportedly in talks to integrate a similar prepaid wallet to its mobile app, we wonder whether Bangalore-based TaxiForSure is also considering launching a similar wallet to its customers.