mobikwik-lite

Yesterday morning, a source informed us that the Mobikwik Lite application stopped allowing users to accept money: After you entered the customers mobile number, to solicit payment, a user got the message that said: “Transaction Status; This feature is currently disabled”(screenshot). We checked and this was true. This had been a key feature of the rollout of the Mobikwik Lite service, as had withdrawal options: the company had integrated other wallets (Payzapp, Oxigen and Pockets), as well as as the Unified Payments Interface (UPI). It used Mobikwik’s payment gateway Zaakpay to accept payments. When a merchant received money from someone, they would get a link, which has all the options for withdrawal, including, according to Upasana Taku, co-founder of Mobikwik, then, the option to withdraw to other wallets.

On being contacted, Taku asked us to download the application again (the auto-updates, we found out, were not enabled for the version of the application available when the press conference was held), because the changes were reflected in the new application.

The updated application works differently

We noticed a couple of changes from what was announced on the 28th:

  • The updated application uses only the Mobikwik Wallet for person-to-person payments. Non-merchants cannot accept card payments, and there’s a tab which is meant only for card payments, and available only to registered merchants. The user was supposed to be given alternative options for withdrawal, and not just the Mobikwik wallet.
  • There is now a clear distinction between Merchants and non-Merchants: If you want to accept card payments, you’ll need to compulsorily register as a mechant. The application now tells the user: that in order to accept payments via debit cards, credit cards, netbanking etc, users need to agree a registered merchant with the payment gateway Zaapkay, and “all payment received via Zaakpay will be directly credited to my bank account.” The merchant can only get active once someone from the Mobikwik team has registered them on the application. This is contrary to what Taku had told us two days ago, when we pointed out that the application doesn’t appear to distinguish between a merchant and a P2P transfer (see “Merchant or P2P?” here). “No app can stop a small business from using it as a user”, she had said then, adding that “There is no way to know if a transaction is P2P or P2Merchant.” Because P2P wallet deposits are limited to Rs 20,000 per month, Mobikwik had hoped that that would force users to upgrade as merchants, and they have a sales team of 10,000 people signing up merchants. Now that team needs to sign up merchants. Note that the application makes no mention of other wallets and and UPI anymore.

Speaking with MediaNama yesterday, Taku said that the changes were made because users were confused about the difference between person-to-person and person-to-merchant payments, adding that this is only a cosmetic change. “Just like upgrade wallet requires KYC docs,” she wrote, “card payments requires KYC docs. It’s a process which takes 2-4 hours max to enable card payments.” In you do a bank transfer, she added, you will “get activated to accept payments via all methods.” That’s still a change from what was announced on Monday.

On being asked whether the company had received any communication from the Reserve Bank of India regarding Mobikwik Lite, Taku said “No.”