Though still far behind, MobiKwik says will close gap with Paytm in users

Digital wallet owner MobiKwik claims it is confident of closing the gap with segment leader Paytm in user base fairly soon.

However, with Paytm's 280 million users, MobiKwik has to more than double its own, from the current 100 mn.

"In the past three months, we have struck a few strategic partnerships — with BSNL, IndusInd Bank, IDFC Bank and Bajaj Finance — and are using their customer base to grow. The gap (with Paytm) is definitely narrowing. I believe we are neck to neck in merchant acceptance across cities," said Upasana Taku, co-founder and director at MobiKwik.

Last November's demonetisation helped MobiKwik double its user base to 65 mn users this year. Another 35 mn came through the partnerships mentioned earlier. Taku said BSNL (the government's telecom arm) alone has close to 100 mn subscribers. "They didn't have a wallet of their own. They have launched a MobiKwik-BSNL co-branded wallet to their customers, that can be used for payment to BSNL and at MobiKwik's two million merchants," she said.

The company has partnered with Bajaj Finance to develop a wallet through which customers can avail of credits and loans. This is also India's first credit wallet. MobiKwik has also developed India's first auto-load wallet for IndusInd Bank's 10 mn-plus customers — they can purchase by tapping their wallet and the money gets automatically debited. Taku says BSNL, Bajaj Finance, IndusInd and IDFC together offer an opportunity to add about 250 mn users.

Acceptance for wallet payment has come from both users and merchants after demonetisation. "The trend continues and government policy is helping. A number of new-use cases have opened up in the past year — education, transportation, citizen services. I am now looking at a trillion-dollar opportunity," said Taku. The company claims to be doing three million transactions every day. Taku said the annual value of these would be $2 billion (Rs 13,000 crore), based on the current rate.

Sequoia Capital and American Express-backed MobiKwik raised $33 mn from Bajaj Finance in August and plans to raise another $67 mn from investors by the end of FY18. It has raised a total of $120 mn so far from investors.

On fund raising, Taku said more Indian companies and banks should open up to investing in digital payments. "The investment from Bajaj is a validation that existing conglomerates and banks are looking at players like us as collaborators, not as competition. We hope large Indian corporates will look at fintech as an invest avenue. Otherwise, all the investments are coming from China and Japan. It doesn't augur well for our economy if large financial data is owned by the Chinese and the Japanese," she said.

Powered by digital transactions

  • 100 million: MobiKwik expands user base by adding 35 million through a series of recent tie-ups
  • 200 million: Eyes the opportunity to add user base by partnering with BSNL, Bajaj Finance, IndusInd and IDFC banks
  • 280 million: The user base of rival Paytm
  • $67 million: MobiKwik to raise fund by the end of FY18
  • $120 million: Total fund raised by MobiKwik till date

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