MobiKwik unveils lighter version of app to boost network of small merchants
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Mumbai: One MobiKwik Systems Pvt. Ltd, which owns and operates the digital wallet MobiKwik, launched on Monday a lighter version of its mobile application MobiKwik Lite to boost its network of small merchants.
Given the paucity of cash due to demonetisation, this is MobiKwik’s attempt to on-board merchants who primarily did business in cash and lacked any kind of point of sale (PoS) machine.
The smaller version of mobile application is of 700 kilobyte (KB); its original app is close to 5.5 megabyte (MB) on Google play store. 1MB is equivalent to 1,024 KB.
The lighter version will help MobiKwik acquire micro, small and medium retailers including those who are part of unorganized retail, such as, roadside hawkers and vendors.
“Not everybody has an email ID but they do have a phone number. So, to download, a user has to give a missed call, they receive a link in SMS. Click on the link to download and the app gets downloaded in seconds, even for (Internet) connection slower than 2G”, said MobiKwik’s co-founder, Upasana Taku, at a press conference.
The company claims that the app works on a feature phone as well. A merchant can request a payment by sending a link to the customer through an SMS. The link directs the user to a payment gateway to make payment through net banking, unified payments interface (UPI) and other wallets, among other options.
“Any online merchant would have these payment options, but what we are trying to do is enable the same payment mechanism of these offline merchants who didn’t even have a PoS,” said Mrinal Sinha, chief operating officer, MobiKwik.
The company has deployed a team of 10,000 for merchant acquisition in the top 10-15 cities. The company currently works with 250,000 merchants, out of which it has acquired upto 150,000 merchants since the demonetisation announcement on 8 November.
Mobikwik is looking to increase its merchant network threefold in next one month, led by small vendors acquired through this lighter mobile application to accept payments, added Sinha.
The company plans to spend Rs25 crore in next few months, towards the campaign to promote the Lite version, added Taku.
Sinha explained that a few heavy features such as Nearby had to be removed to make a product of such compressed size. Nearby helps users find the nearest offline store that accepts a MobiKwik payment. He also added that the Lite version will see updates less often than the original app so that the size of the app remains below 1MB. “The normal app will see updates one every three weeks to a month. But, Lite will not see many updates. Maybe, upto one (update) every two months,” he said.
Digital wallets charge a certain percentage of the money a user pays to the merchant. MobiKwik has launched Lite free of charge for merchants.
“Until 31 March 2017, the service (of receiving payments) is absolutely free. Depending upon the penetration (of MobiKwik among the merchants) we might start charging the merchants or continue the free service,” said Bipin Preet Singh, co-founder, MobiKwik.