Mumbai, 31 March
The March edition of Mobile Monday offered some interesting insights into user demographics and behaviour while using cellphones to pay for services or products. About 70 people attended the event, which was sponsored by mobile commerce company Paymate India Pvt. Ltd.
The topic of the evening was ‘wireless commerce’, moderated by panellists who represented the mobile payment company and brands using it—Channel V and online travel company Cleartrip India Pvt. Ltd. Under discussion was the concept of using mobile phones to offer gift vouchers.
The government is yet to release norms pertaining to mobile payments. Today, most m-commerce companies piggyback on credit card or banking regulations because they cannot offer money transfers without involving bank accounts.
Paymate recently introduced Giftmate, akin to gift vouchers offered by retailers, except that it sits on the mobile and can be used across multiple retailers and services. The voucher can be transferred to a friend’s cellphone, an idea that led to much heated debate as the audience raised questions about the legal framework in place and if this amounts to peer-to-peer money transfer.
Interestingly, about 20% of its users had never carried out an online transaction before. Giftmate does 2,000 transactions a day. Akshay Sharma, assistant vice-president (marketing) at Paymate, shared other interesting statistics on user behaviour based on a survey the firm had carried out on 10,000 customers. About 65% came from tier I cities, the rest from tier II and III cities. While the company had estimated that the highest value proposition for m-commerce would be for utility bill payments or online transactions, a majority of those surveyed said they would use it to purchase goods as well.