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Justdial looking to launch payments biz JD Cash in Q2-FY16

JustDial

“JD Cash is almost done, but I think we would delay it by one (more) quarter to launch it,” Justdial founder & MD VSS Mani said during the company’s Q4-FY15 earnings conference call. He added that the beta version of JD Cash is ready and they’re currently testing it. Justdial wants to be “100% sure about the way we go about it”, because it involves financial transactions.

However, the more interesting bit of new is that Mani informed that users will be able to make micro payments using JD Cash. “Yes, it will allow you to make such micro payments, including your own newspaper vendor to milkman to anybody you can pay through this and avoid dealing in cash with them.”

In August last year, Justdial had first said that it was planning to introduce JD Cash, a payments platform integration for its Search Plus suite of services. Earlier this year, Mani had said that they were looking to launch JD Cash sometime between April-June 2015, during the company’s Q3-FY15 earnings conference call.

Wallet plans

Justdial has opted to tie-up with an existing mobile wallet service provider, instead of applying for a prepaid-payment instruments (PPI) license itself. However, it hasn’t revealed the name of the wallet service provider it has tied-up with. Note that the company had been considering applying for a PPI license and in the interim period “manage with some of the existing people who have that license.” So, PPI license plans might still be on the table.

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JustDial needs a wallet to operate JD cash or partner with one, because it is a marketplace. If it were an e-commerce player, and owned the inventory or the services that customers were buying on its site, it would effectively be operating a closed wallet, which would not need a license. Since customers are buying from merchants and service providers via JustDial, it needs a semi-closed prepaid payment instrument (or a semi-closed wallet).

It’s worth noting that SAIF Partners, which is an investor in JustDial, is also an investor in Paytm*, which has a wallet license from the RBI, and has applied for a Payments Bank license via its founder Vijay Shekhar Sharma.

*Disclosure: Paytm is an advertiser with MediaNama

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