Mobile Wallet Adoption: How It Could Transform the Retail Scenario in India


Industry leaders brainstormed about the current plight of mode of payments in India and how to evolve the same at a session on Mobile Wallet Adoption, during the India Digital Summit.

The fight between which is better option – cash on delivery (COD) mode or by paying through debit and credit cards is still the big question in a developing country like India. In our country, the target market can be defined in terms of Bharat and India which is using cash and debit & credit cards, respectively. These two are the components on which the customers are divided.

Srikanth Rajagopalan, Head of Strategy & Products – India, Amazon Payments

Rajagopalan started off by stating that consumers in India are still at the early level of e-commerce, so they need time adapt the new concept. For them, be it a customer or retailer, COD is more efficient. He strongly advocated that there is absolutely no comparison of developed and developing nations as the former are far ahead in this race.

Suresh Sethi, Business Head / CEO M-Pesa, Vodafone

He initiated the conversation by stating that credit and debit card holders enable to witness ecommerce and e-growth to a great extent. He also stated that people having cash could not transact through online mediums earlier. However, they can do it now with ease and comfort. Nevertheless, as a country, the critical challenge is how to convert cash into digital money so as to attract more audience and enable transactions through Mobile Wallet. He advocated and asserted how simple mobile wallets are and that it is easy to channelize this medium.

Shashank Joshi, Managing Director, My Mobile Payments

Mr. Joshi stated that over 60% population is un-banked. Currently, the cause of concern is to convert cash to digital money for use. While in conversation with Srikanth, Mr Joshi disagreed because the customer gets bind in no ecommerce transaction mode as digital money is not available always. Online sites come handy in such circumstances. Mobile wallets have potential of deeper penetration where banks cannot penetrate enabling consumers to shop more easily. The concept of mobile wallet has huge scope as the cost of transferring cash from point to point is huge. Thus, mobile wallet is a crucial way. So, digital currency has a lot of perspective in the ecosystem that is developing at this stage and mobile wallet will evolve.

Bipin Preet Singh, Founder & CEO, MobiKwik

Bipin stated that more than 10 million users rely on online transactions. Most of the users use wallet on mobile and people want to pay for recharges, pay mobile bills and due to small nature of payments and due to prevalence of ecommerce, there are a lot of inefficiencies whether through credit or debit cards. Thus, mobile wallets enable this. Another area where mobile wallets are gaining significance is travel, as seen at the global level as well it is picking up pace in India through several ways viz. metro passes, e-cards at restaurants etc. Moreover, it is seen that exchange of money is easily done online, which is not possible through bank accounts. So, mobile wallets in India can do a great job. While the banks have not done a great job, there is need and space available to bridge the gap. In a nutshell, there is huge scope. We are a cash only country so, it is essential to get cash in digital form and reap benefits from this big opportunity.

While in the discussion, he also advocated that COD is not feasible for retailers and customers. So, there is a clear opportunity for mobile wallet to gain trust of the customers and take care of refund issues as well. This is so because in case of refund issues, ESCROW is relied upon and that can be done through mobile wallets only. At MobiKwik, they see that small payment allows conversion of small money from a cash user to a digital user. This phenomenon is happening at a big scale in terms of volume of transactions which is in multiple lacs. Thus, ecommerce transactions have surpassed retail transactions.

Also, the pain of making payments through debit cards is more as compared to that of mobile wallets. They do not have the confidence to make payments through these cards as the payment process goes a long way which includes giving information about acquiring bank, issuing bank, CVV number etc. So, too much is happening at the same time and some parts are old and outdated which are not suiting the infrastructure. Mobile wallet is an end-to-end payment system that is not present in debit or credit cards. So, the former has a clear edge over the latter.

Anshul Kheterpal, Chief Financial Officer, Airtel Money

Anshul stated that etailing has given a major boost to the mobile industry. Even though credit and debit cards are there but still mobile wallets are still required. There is a need to act as a catalyst and promote transactions through mobile wallets. The Smartphone apps are one way to reach out to the customers and thus promoting mobile wallet transactions. He also stated that physical merchants rely on mobile wallet and not on credit and debit cards for the same. So, there is an incentive to move from COD to digital money.

Udit Sharma, Vice President – Oxigen Wallet, Oxigen Services India 

Mr Sharma was of the opinion that there is a need to get the key which is to address needs of both the user and the merchant. There are several challenges like security concerns, payments issues etc. that need to be fixed. So, killer use cases will come out at user space.

Udit believes that for customers mobile wallets are a big boon for people falling in the categories of: credit and debit card users, for non credit and debit card users, for those who do not have access to credit and debit cards, they have to use COD as the mode of payment. Mobile wallets can easily address these issues. Moreover, Oxigen is able to deliver its services to specific locations where it was not possible earlier. He even stated that as mentioned earlier, if there are 300 million internet users then there are 700 million of those who do not have access to internet. The Oxigen Wallet pilot project is giving scope to browse and order online by giving online shopping.


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“Thinking Aloud” reflects the emerging trends and varied outlook of the rapidly evolving internet and communication sector. An IAMAI publication, this is a part of the market education initiative of the association.

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