“We bring you a roundup of top payment wallets in India”
Cashless economy… this has become a buzzword of late, but as a user, it’s always difficult to part ways with physical cash and envision a world that’s digital. However, with yesterday’s surprising announcement by PM Narendra Singh Modi regarding scrapping of high-value currency notes – you need to start thinking of going cashless. And, one of the best ways to do so is by using payment wallets.
Most of these wallets started as simple apps that allowed you to do mobile recharges, but they have come a long way since then. Now, they allow all sorts of payments ranging from mobile recharges to utility bill payments (electricity, gas, and more), and some of them even let you recharge your metro card for Delhi or Mumbai. As per the norms, the wallets have a limit of Rs 10,000, which can be upgraded to Rs 1 lakh by submitting your KYC details. Let's take a look at the top digital wallets.
PS: Don’t confuse wallets with the coins or cash some websites offer, which can only be used on their own platforms. For example: Goibibo goCash, BookMyShow wallet.
With over 150 million users, Paytm is the most popular digital wallet. It’s also probably the most feature-rich of all, as along with a wallet, it is also an e- commerce destination which lets you book movies, hotels, flight tickets, and much more. It’s also popular because of its integration with Uber, letting you connect your wallet to pay for rides. Apart from offering the option of performing online transactions on almost all websites including the likes of IRCTC, the company also empowers offline transactions by giving you the ability to pay at petrol pumps, supermarkets like Big Bazaar, and restaurants, among others. In fact, the company has also partnered with auto rickshaw drivers for payments, so you can just use your Paytm wallet to pay them instead of using cash. Another reason to use the app is its exciting cashback offers. You can also use it to send money to your friends, if they are Paytm users.
Freecharge came to the fore by offering attractive vouchers for eateries such as McDonald’s against online mobile recharges. In addition to your recharging requirements, the app can also be used for payments on various websites, including Snapdeal – which acquired it in 2015 in one of the largest internet deals in the country. The app can be used offline, in places such as HP petrol pumps, Cafe Coffee Day, and a dozen others. Freecharge offers innovative options such as the ability to transfer money to your friends via WhatsApp, instead of forcing you to use the app.
Another payment wallet that started as a recharge app is Mobikwik. LIke the above two apps, it lets you recharge your mobile accounts, perform online transactions, and even pay offline. It has partnered with over 5,000 restaurants, supermarkets, etc for payments. You can also use the app to transfer money to your friends by simply using their phone numbers. Another reason the app has become popular is that it gives you the option to get cash picked up from your place, and add to your account.
Even telecom operators have jumped into the fray as far as payment wallets are concerned, and as part of India’s largest telco, Airtel Money is one of the most popular and loaded options. Like all the services in this roundup, it allows you to recharge mobile accounts (don’t worry, you can carry out recharges for other networks, and not just Airtel), pay utility bills, transfer money to your friends, pay online on popular websites such as BookMyShow, and even use it for offline transactions. Interestingly, you can also transfer money to any bank account by using IMPS (Immediate Mobile Payment Service).
With digital wallets disrupting traditional banks, how can they be far behind? Pockets comes from the stable of the largest private bank in India, ICICI, and offers a multitude of features. The best part is that you need not be an ICICI account holder to use it. It comes with all the usual features of recharges, bill payments, and carrying out online and offline transactions. However, what sets it apart is that it also lets you order a physical VISA card that can be used at almost all physical and online stores. This is a great option for those who don’t have a debit card, or those who don’t want to carry a secondary card with less money in it. Pockets also supports UPI (Unified payments interface), letting you transfer money by simply using a VPA (Virtual Payment Address) of the person you want to pay.
Following ICICI’s footsteps, HDFC entered the wallets game with the PayZapp app. Similar to the other apps, you can use it for recharges, paying utility bills, online payments, and even offline transactions by scanning the QR code. It also offers you mVISA card credentials (though there’s no option to get a physical card), that can be used for transacting on almost all online stores.
As aforementioned, Airtel isn’t the only telecom company to offer a payment wallet – Vodafone offers mPesa, Idea has Idea Money, and even the latest entrant in the space, Reliance Jio offers JioMoney Wallet. All of them allow carrier-agnostic recharges, utility bill payments, money transfers, and more.
Similarly, many banks have the wallet play. SBI has SBI Buddy, Axis Bank has introduced Lime, RBL bank has Udio (formerly Shmart), DBS has Digibank. Like their counterparts, they can be used for recharges, bill payments, and more. In our experience, Udio is quite powerful as it also offers you an option to get a physical VISA card that can then be used for all kinds of transactions, along with offering some lucrative cashback offers.
UPI is a government-backed initiative which is set to become popular, especially after this announcement. It’s biggest advantage is that it seamlessly works between banks and compatible wallets, and for transferring money, all you need is a virtual address without bothering about the mobile number (used by most wallets for transfers). While many apps and banks have already started supporting it, many more are expected to be compatible with it in the coming days. You can also check dedicated apps for UPI such as PhonePe – which comes from the popular e-com website, Flipkart – and offers all the usual features of wallets.
There are some services that let you use the money for the respective service as well as many other things. Ola Money (in partnership with Zip Money, which has RBI’s license for payment wallets) for instance, can be used for recharges and more, apart from paying for Ola rides.
By no means this is an exhaustive list of all the payment wallets available in India, but we can vouch that they are the best ones out there – ensuring that your transition to the cashless economy is as smooth as it can be. Which one’s your favourite? Let us know in the comments below.
Smartphones have become a necessity in today's digital age. Be it browsing the web or connecting with you...