Ola has tied up with Bharat Petroleum in Bangalore to make fuel e-vouchers available for its drivers. It has also tied with Axis Bank to put up a mobile ATM in its Bangalore office where drivers can withdraw cash from. Ola’s drivers need to have their Aadhaar cards linked to their bank accounts to withdraw money.
Ola said that ‘thousands’ of its drivers had used e-vouchers and cash withdrawals so far. The service will be available till the end of December and be expanded to other (unnamed) cities. It had also tied up with ICICI Bank to let drivers exchange their old Rs 500 and 1000 notes (which was permitted till the 24th of November). Like Axis Bank, ICICI Bank had set up a kiosk in Ola’s office to exchange the demonetised notes.
On the user end, Ola tied up with Punjab National Bank for mobile ATMs in its cabs in Kolkata, Hyderabad with SBI and Andhra Bank. The company expects to launch more such facilities in Delhi, Mumbai, Chennai, Chandigarh and Ahmedabad in the coming weeks. It is unclear how this feature works, given that ATMs must have some security prerequisites for operation.
Effects of demonetisation
Following the Indian government’s demonetisation move, the Reserve Bank of India had to increase the mobile wallet loading capacity from Rs 10,000 to Rs 20,000 till the end of December. This was precedented due to long queues outside ATMs and banks to deposit and withdraw money. Earlier today, the RBI placed a withdrawal limit of Rs 10,000 per month on Jan Dhan Yojana bank accounts.
Earlier this week, Ola said that its digital wallet Ola Money could now be used to pay for utility bills like gas and electricity. The company also launched a postpaid service called Ola Credit which would let its users pay for cab rides a week after they’d taken them.
Post the demonetisation, Ola Money saw a 1500% increase in recharge. For smaller towns and cities, which usually rely on cash payments, Ola Money’s growth was 30x. In March, Ola Money could be used to recharge prepaid metrocards for Mumbai Metro and pay for tickets booked at Rajasthan State Road Transport Corporation’s (RSRTC) online portal.