Bengaluru: Flipkart-owned mobile payments start-up PhonePe Internet Pvt. Ltd has crossed over 100,000 downloads on Google’s mobile app store, as it looks to ride on the unified payment interface (UPI) platform to build a large digital payments business.
Since launching in August, PhonePe has also crossed the 500,000-registered user mark, as the mobile payments start-up tries to increase its user base by piggy-backing on Flipkart and Myntra.
Parent Flipkart has shut down its mobile wallet Flipkart Money and the Myntra Cashback wallet, PhonePe founders Sameer Nigam and Rahul Chari said in an interview.
“We’re the number 2 trending app on Google Play Store (last week). We just crossed about half a million users—and these are not installs, these are registered users," said Nigam, CEO of PhonePe.
PhonePe, launched last December by former Flipkart executives Nigam, Chari and Burzin Engineer, was acquired by Flipkart in April. It was Flipkart’s third major acquisition in payments, after NGPay (Jigrahak Mobility Solutions Pvt. Ltd) in 2014 and FX Mart Pvt. Ltd, which owns a prepaid wallet licence, last August.
In August, PhonePe launched its app based on the UPI platform, seeking to take on the likes of Paytm and Freecharge for a piece of India’s fast-growing digital payments business.
“The last six months have largely been about building out the product, trying to take UPI live along with the rest of the banks and make sure things stabilize. So, we launched late August and spent the first six-odd weeks trying to streamline the entire product experience. It’s been an amazing experience because to be honest we didn’t expect UPI to launch as fast as it did," said Nigam.
As part of the PhonePe launch, Flipkart has phased out its Flipkart Money wallet and Myntra Cashback, months after re-launching the wallet in the first place.
“So, in the last two months, we’ve basically shut down Flipkart Money, we’ve shut down Myntra cashback and all of the refunds and cashback are now flowing into an interoperable wallet," said Nigam.
“What you see on Flipkart now is PhonePe Wallet, what you see on Myntra is PhonePe Wallet...This also opens up many more use cases. A wallet typically works for shopping—this is something that is used for payments. Like paying rent is not something you classify as shopping—those are things that a wallet can’t really do," said Chari, chief technology officer at PhonePe.
Nigam said that the company had not seen any pushback from consumers on the refunds and cashback policy for which customers need to have a PhonePe app on their smartphones.
“From any of our merchants, the refunds and cash-back that flow in will be interoperable across the network and more importantly, you’ll be able to withdraw that to your bank account if you link it—which is the one key differentiator. It’s a pretty big bet that we’re making—lots of merchants and customers have asked us why can’t you top up the wallet? Our core belief is that if UPI does realize its vision that every Indian links their bank account to the smartphone, the need to keep money in a wallet by topping up just disappears because it’s always been the debate between safety and security and convenience," said Nigam.