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Amazon India launches bill payments service; does not name partners

Amazon India has launched a bill payment service that will allow users to pay electricity, landline, broadband, gas and postpaid bills across  100 utility providers in the country. The service will be powered by its Amazon Pay platform and can be accessed via the Amazon Pay dashboard and the Amazon home page on both, the mobile app and its website.

In a bid to incentivise customers to use it, Amazon will provide cashbacks of up to Rs 75 to customers. Amazon is offering 10% cash back up to Rs 75 on Electricity Bills and 10% up to Rs 50 on any landline, broadband or postpaid bills. For prepaid mobile recharges, users will get a flat Rs 50 back on a minimum recharge of Rs 198 and flat Rs 75 back on a minimum recharge of Rs 398 on the customer’s first recharge and upto Rs 30 back on a repeat recharge.

Apart from these cashbacks, Amazon has also partnered with select billers, telecom and DTH operators to offer exclusive promotional offers to customers across recharges and bill payments, the release said. Amazon did not specify which companies it had tied up with.

It will be interesting to see how the service fares, given that most other major digital payment apps/services already let their users pay utility bills. Reports point that Amazon is on the verge of acquiring ‘all-in-one app’ Tapzo.

It is worth noting that Amazon India’s fintech Vice President Sriraman Jagannathan recently resigned from the company. A change in Amazon’s key personal during a time like this may hurt the company as well.

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Competition

This week, Paytm, the country’s largest digital payment company secured an undisclosed investment from Berkshire Hathaway, while Google announced that it would rebrand its UPI payment app Tez to Google Pay, bundled with additional features.

This is apart from the countless other payment apps that already exist, and a bunch of others that are likely to launch soon, including WhatsApp, India Post Payments Bank and Reliance Jio. In this context, while competition is looking to either offer something completely new or expand their existing services, Amazon’s bill payment offering may be too little too late.

RBI’s deadline looms

Most international payment companies operating in India, including Amazon, are now worried that they will not be able to adhere to the RBI’s deadline of storage of payment system data in India. In April, the RBI mandated that all payment systems data had to be stored only in India within 6 months. The move would have come into effect from October 15 this year, according to a report by the Economic Times. Amazon was amongst the causalities, as we reported earlier this month that the company’s plan to launch its own Unified Payments Interface (UPI)-based payments service had been hampered because of this.

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