With mobiles being the one of the brightest innovations of the century, bringing us humans closer to an ever-exciting future, it’s particularly the switch from cellphones to smartphones that has made a vast difference in the way world is today, and how it’s shaping up to be.
And this future looks all dressed up in mobile-led ecommerce, every kind of application that one can think of, and what not!
Talking about ecommerce, we can’t but not think of other terms like transaction, payment gateways, and finally, mobile wallets. Gone are the days when the burning question was, ’Whether to stick with desktop sites or if mobiles have become a necessity for growth in ecommerce?’ That question found its answer quite some time ago. Now, more than ‘where to shop?’, the question has shifted towards, ‘how to pay?’.
Payment gateways have long been a suspicious little thing in the eyes of innocent Indians, preferring cash on delivery any day over using plastic money. But that too is changing. And it’s not just the urban population that we’re talking about.
Mobile wallets, a fantastic name for an even more fabulous service, quite literally are wallets – only ones that you don’t carry in your pocket.
Or maybe you do.
Mobiles go in the pockets, right?
Anyway, in case you’re curious about what mobile wallets actually are, and how they work, read ahead.
What is Mobile Wallet?
It’s a wallet that you carry in your smartphone, one that’s virtual in nature, and a concept that represents everything that cashless payment is all about.
Using your mobile number and email address, you create yourself a wallet with any of the leading mobile wallet service providers in the country. Then you transfer a certain amount of money to it, following which you use this wallet to make any purchases or transactions with any of the online or offline merchants that are listed with whichever mobile wallet you would have chosen.
That is how the short story on mobile wallets looks like. Next comes the longer version.
Types of Wallets
You will find open wallets like M-Pesa by Vodafone and ICICI, that will allow you to transfer funds, withdraw cash from banks and ATMs, and of course make cashless purchases. Then there are semi-open wallets, which don’t allow you to withdraw cash, but any transactions with the merchants listed with that wallet service provider are allowed. So, you have Airtel Money that would be a good example. These wallets won’t allow you to transfer money back into your bank account from the wallet, which is possible with open wallets.
There are also closed accounts – which are common sight as you go for online shopping. You see merchants holding back the amount you spent on a purchase, and returned or cancelled it thereafter – only allowing you to make another purchase with that amount.
Apart from these, you’ll find semi-closed wallets like Paytm, the kind that ecommerce today lives by, which you can use to make purchases, without any cash withdrawal or cash redemption possible.
Mobile Wallet Future
We are already witnessing a growth in the digital payments across the country, and the reasons are numerous. Right from an increase in smartphone perpetuation to newer generations of network reaching more and more people as they move on from 2G to 3G to now, 4G. There are even government initiatives that have proven to be a huge catalyst in getting smartphones and mobile Internet the kind of if rise they’re seeing today.
So, as a consequence of this, we now have ecommerce transactions, and furthermore transacting via digital payments on a regular order high! And with the concept of Digital India fast taking over, the mobile wallets are being adopted like never before, especially by the unbanked population. You even have the leading ecommerce platforms, such as BuildaBazaar, providing a host of wallet options for the online store owners to choose from – eventually giving their customers another option to pay. So there are these platforms and there are other merchants that these mobile wallet service providers have formed so he strong bonds with, that almost anywhere a person tries to make a payment online, there’s an option of wallet options ready for them to choose from.
We have MobiKwik, Payment, Citrus, and many other players making their mark in the mobile wallet market. With so many offers, and so many ways to get cash back, it’s almost a burning question for every online shopper, as to which of these wallets to really go for.
So, there’s no doubt really, on how mobile wallets are becoming the preferred mode of making payments online – and this trend is here to stay, here to grow.