Call it the after-effect of the currency ban or a step towards a digital economy, virtual wallets in India are gaining popularity like never before. The year 2017 has been particularly significant in terms of growth as not only existing e-wallets witnessed tremendous growth, but traditional banks were also inspired to introduce standalone apps to offer more accessibility and benefits to the customers who are gradually refraining from carrying around hard cash or even plastic cards in their wallets.
Mobile wallets can be understood as a platform on which you can link your bank accounts through credit or debit card for paying bills, shopping, peer-to-peer transfers, and even do digital banking. These wallets differ from some services which only facilitate digital payments through their platforms. Digital wallets, function pretty much like a traditional wallet, in which you can keep money; the only difference being the nature of the money and the wallet are both virtual. Here’s a look at some of the most prominent mobile wallet apps available in India.
One of the go-to services for making mobile recharges, Freecharge also introduced its digital wallet last year. It is owned by Axis Bank and allows payments for a range of services. In addition to the main app for making transactions using wallet balance or saved cards, there is also a standalone app for accepting payments called Swiffly. It is essentially aimed at merchants for accepting payments via Facebook.
The PayU Money platform as well as its wallet allows users to make digital payments. The wallet money can be used to make purchases on major e-commerce websites. You can also transferring the wallet money to your bank account if required.
Unlike Uber which links Paytm wallet, Ola has its dedicated Ola Money wallet service to let you pay for rides, along with allowing you make other payments, recharges, and also at partner merchants such as OYO Rooms, Saavn, and more.
Airtel Money is perhaps one of the oldest digital payment services in India. It went national back in 2012 and allows you to pay utility bills, mobile recharges, bill payments and online transactions directly from your phone by loading money into the digital wallet. Similar to Paytm, Airtel Money is linked to Airtel Payments Bank, where you can avail benefits of a regular bank.
Although Vodafone mPesa has a narrower merchant list, it still makes for a good e-wallet service in the country. You can pay your Vodafone bills using mPesa, transfer money back to your account, and also recharge DTH service. What makes it unique is you can also withdraw money from the nearest mPesa agent.
PayZapp does not require you to have an HDFC account. You can link debit or credit card of any bank to the wallet and make payments, book tickets, and also shop online.
Similar to PayZapp, Pockets by ICICI bank also allows users to link any credit or debit card to the wallet and make digital transactions. You can simply register your account, link to ICICI account if you have one, or connect other bank accounts, and start sending money to your contacts, merchants, and online vendors as well.
Oxigen wallet allows you to make recharges, request money from friends, pay bills, buy gift cards and do similar tasks as other wallets. It also gives you access to a prepaid VISA debit card which is essentially a virtual card, and saved inside the wallet.
The only global wallet available in India, Citi MasterPass by Citibank allows you to shop at over 250,000 e-commerce merchants worldwide. The wallet was launched in 2015 but is exclusive to Citibank members. As it is meant only for Citibank customers, it can be understood more than a payment platform for faster checkouts than a standalone wallet.
One of the prime features of Buddy by State Bank of India is that it supports 13 Indian languages. Non-SBI users can also sign up for the digital wallet and make transactions, book tickets, shop, and do much more.
Owned by Flipkart, PhonePe obviously allows you to pay for goods you purchase on the e-commerce platform. In addition to that, you can pay insurance premiums and broadband bills as well. A new update to the app allows you to club your wallet and bank account so as to make a single payment.
Although in beta mode, JioMoney could soon hop on the growth ride owing to the large userbase it has in the form of Jio subscribers. Jio has several merchant partners such as Hamleys, Marks and Spencers, Reliance Fresh, and HomeShop 18 which accept JioMoney as the mode of payment.