E-commerce company Infibeam has tied up with erupee, a network of physical retail touch-points to offer Infibeam vouchers which can be redeemed against any purchase on its portal. Customers can head over any one of the 200+ erupee Points spread across Bangalore and Pune and buy vouchers of their preferred denomination by paying cash. These vouchers will be valid up to one year from the date of purchase, and a national launch is expected in March, covering 40 cities. However, do keep in mind that India is a country that is increasingly choosing personal Internet access via mobile and at home, over public Internet access at Cybercafes, and the number of cybercafes in India have been declining.
The initiative targets those customers who want to shop online either possess a credit card or are too scared to share their financial information like netbanking account details or credit/debit card details. Other payment card systems include MOL, which can be used to by credits for Zynga and Facebook.
Interestingly, erupee is an initiative of Sequoia Capital backed Ideacts Innovations; Ideacts is essentially a user management system for cybercafes, which used to monetize through providing advertising on terminals. e-rupee appears to be similar to a prepaid card based system for transactions, and if it is like Itz Cash, Done Card, Beam and Airtel Money, except that these are Infibeam specific vouchers that are being retailed, so they aren’t quite the same as prepaid cards, and probably don’t require a license. However, why is Infibeam tying up with erupee, instead of the prepaid card companies, which already have a large customer base? Or, for that matter, why has Ideacts launched the voucher business, instead of tying up with one of the existing prepaid card companies?