E-wallet firms target retailers to cash in on currency scarcity

Following the move to withdraw Rs500 and Rs1000 notes, e-wallets such as Paytm, MobiKwik, and Oxigen have been advertising aggressively


Paytm has introduced a ‘nearby’ feature with which users will be able to locate stores around them that accept Paytm. Photo: Bloomberg
Paytm has introduced a ‘nearby’ feature with which users will be able to locate stores around them that accept Paytm. Photo: Bloomberg

New Delhi: Payment wallets such as Paytm, MobiKwik and Oxigen are looking to tie up with small retailers as the sudden withdrawal of high-value currency notes sends people scurrying for cash.

“One area that we wish to focus upon is private hospitals which were not ready to accept cash, despite the 72-hour exemption being given to them by the government. Many people don’t have cards and even if they are banked, they don’t know how to use these services. So, our target customers will be such people,” Upasana Taku, co-founder of MobiKwik, said.

MobiKwik is also planning to tie up with several unorganized shops in Delhi's Janpath and Sarojini Nagar markets in the coming months, besides Gurgaon where it already has a presence.

Customers can buy goods from these shops and give their quick response (QR) code to the shopkeeper. The QR code is used to store information readable by camera or smartphone.

The payment will be deducted from the customer’s wallet and paid in to the shopkeeper’s. To provide this service from the supplier’s end, MobiKwik usually charges supermarkets or grocery shops it has tied up with a fee, but no such charge will apply to these stand-alone shops.

With the aim of doubling its transaction volume to 100 million per month, Oxigen is thinking likewise.

“We wish to sign up 50,000 new offline merchants by March 2017 which will be standalone shops, convenience stores, eateries which are specifically not on digital payments or Point of Sale (PoS),” Sunil Kulkarni, deputy managing director, Oxigen said.

Keen on making its offline network strong, Paytm also acquired Shopsity, ET Tech.com reported on 11 November. Launched in March 2015, Shopsity is an online to offline mobile platform, where buyers get to see what’s selling in local stores. It mainly focuses on small unorganized retailers, providing them tools to attract and retain customers.

Like MobiKwik, Paytm also has introduced a ‘nearby’ feature in it with which users will be able to locate stores around them that accept Paytm.

Along with this, it also has an ‘Add Cash’ feature, which will point out the nearest ICICI Bank and Axis Bank branches, where one can load cash on their Paytm wallets.

Following the government’s announcement, the wallets have been advertising aggressively. The move has helped these companies as the government attempts to make India a cashless economy.

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