Paytm today added a new feature to its payments service, which takes on rivals WhatsApp and Facebook Messenger. Called Inbox, the new tool allows you to chat with your contacts and also transfer or request money through the conversation. With the new service, is Paytm aiming to overpower existing messaging services or become an all-inclusive tool for shopping, payments, and conversations? Paytm CEO Vijay Shekhar Sharma addressed these questions and more over a Facebook Live. Also Read - How to book a Citybus ticket using Paytm: A step-by-step guideAlso Read - Google in talks to join India's open e-commerce network
Ahead of WhatsApp’s planned debut of payments in India, Paytm’s Inbox brings the ability to allow its 230 million users to share photos, videos, contacts, live locations along with making payments through the same app. Also Read - RBI to set audit guidelines for Paytm Payments Bank: Report
“You go to an ice cream parlor to buy an ice cream. But what about when you go to a restaurant and want an ice cream? As a consumer when you walk in a single-experience, you can have complementary experiences. Messaging, in this case, is becoming like ice cream in a restaurant. You could be in a payment app, or shopping app, and messaging is an obligation. Messaging is a core feature of any transaction.”
“We thought to add more engagement to the payments app,” the company said. Through Inbox, only those contacts will show available for chat or messaging who use Paytm, making the conversations simpler. The limit is Rs 5,000 per transaction, and Rs 25,000 per month through Inbox. ALSO READ: Paytm rolls out in-app messaging feature Inbox to take on WhatsApp
“You can use it as a standalone messaging tool (with features such as message recall, video sharing, GIFs, and so on), or use it in accordance with payments too,” Shekhar said quoting examples of Instagram and Facebook which have evolved to integrate messaging into their platforms as well.
Will Inbox make Paytm cluttered?
“Paytm is aiming to become a one-stop destination for customers for everything. Shopping and payments is one, gaming could be another. The idea is to become a platform,” Shekhar said. A feature which he would personally like to see on the app is to add air quality index. Now, this is not to be confused with an actual feature coming soon, however, believing it otherwise is also not to be completely ruled out. RELATED: WhatsApp Pay in final testing stage, likely to launch in December: Report
However, with so many features already present into the app, including Payments Bank and Paytm Mall, won’t there be a lot of clutter? Shekhar said that the company is working towards making it much more simpler. “Simplicity is an obligation. We have to do a lot better for discoverability of the features. We want to make the app simpler than it currently is.”
Is it possible to reverse a transaction in Inbox?
“Recalling a transaction is an obligation of the recipient party. If I am sending the money to you, it depends on you to reverse it. However, through the request money feature, it is possible to do so.”
Although a direct function to reverse a transaction is currently not supported, the company could possibly look at building it into the app, where simply swiping back on the transaction could reverse it.
Paytm is looking at adding more features to Inbox in the coming days. Interestingly, the company did hint at ‘Inbox 2.0’ which could possibly bring together “a couple of inboxes and try an become ‘The Inbox'”. After messaging, the company appears to bring together scattered services into a single platform.
Paytm’s Deepak Abbot said that GIF functionality will be available in a week’s time, along with other features. As the company aims to look at making the platform more casual for users, adding emoji, video sharing abilities, and more. Paytm will also be hosting a formal event in the next week where it is expected to make new announcements related to Inbox and the main app as well.