November 8, 2016 was a day that shocked India. No one expected that that evening, our Prime Minister Narendra Modi would send the entire country into a financial whirlwind. The government’s demonetisation move left a whole nation experiencing mixed feelings. Since that day, India has been on a journey towards becoming a completely cashless economy. While demonetisation did leave a lot of us stranded, confused, desperate and even in danger, the step as a whole has also stirred up a lot of good. Probably the best thing to come out of demonetisation is the growth of a string of Indian mobile wallets. Although most of these took birth before the announcement on November 8, they’ve grown astoundingly in the past four months. So today, we take a quick glance at 10 of these wallets, that are making India both cashless and digital.
Of all the e-wallets flooding the Google Play Store and the App Store, Paytm is perhaps one of the most efficient and comprehensive. The app has grown so much, it can hardly even be called just a wallet anymore. With Paytm, you can conduct your basic transactions and make payments, while also booking restaurants, movies and more. If all of its features weren’t enough to make it popular and heavily downloaded, the platform now also boasts a version for those in Canada.
Working a lot like other mobile wallets, Airtel Money too, lets you make bill payments, send and receive money, and shop. However, this wallet also lets you carry out transactions without your mPIN. This means that you can literally make a payment via the touch of a button. Airtel Money also lets you tap and request money on and from NFC-enabled devices. It’s features like these and more that put the wallet right up there with apps like Paytm and FreeCharge.
Although we don’t hear too much about Oxigen, the app has been silently gaining a huge user base. And, it is easy to see why. The Oxigen Wallet doesn’t just help you pay your bills, it even gives you free coupons with every transaction. Apart from this, the app also lets you shop on more than 15,000 platforms, including Jabong and eBay. Touting the ability to help you pay “the smart way”, the Oxigen Wallet already boasts millions of installs.
The competition among mobile wallets can become rather challenging when you’re faced with apps like Paytm, that are ubiquitous and ever-growing. However, PayUmoney is still big and getting bigger. With millions of installs and thousands of fans, the app is currently present in 18 countries. Giving you standard yet beneficial offers and features, the app covers everything from recharge to payments. PayUmoney even has a strong partnership with Pepperfry, where it offers users a number of enticing cashback options and discounts.
With so many wallets floating about, it gets hard for each one to stand out. However, one PhonePe stands out as unique and effective, thanks to the fact that it’s a UPI-based app. Again, the app covers bill payments, a split bill feature, recharge, shopping and more. However, PhonePe is also excellent because it lets you transact up to Rs 1 lakh per transaction. What’s more is that the app is also available in Hindi, Bengali, Tamil and Marathi. It even boasts an astonishing number of installs – over 10 million.
Another wallet that’s up there with the big guns is FreeCharge. This “fastest-growing digital payments platform” has been reinventing itself ever since its inception in 2010. Apart from the regular payment and recharge options, FreeCharge also works as a convenient instrument for Mumbai Metro smart card recharges, and packs a unique ‘Data Lifeline’ feature. This option lets you earn free 3G data up to 100 MB, just by exchanging tokens. FreeCharge even boasts a list of restaurant and shopping partners to take almost all your recreational activities the mobile way.
State Bank Buddy
A lot of lenders in India are making it easier for customers to handle transactions through their own mobile wallets. One of the best of these is the State Bank Buddy app by SBI. Available in a whopping 13 languages, the app is equipped with nearly all the features available on other leading wallets in the country. State Bank Buddy will let you manage your payments, bookings, shopping and money transfers with ease. The app even features merchant payments. It’s no wonder that it currently boasts over five million installs.
Reliance Jio has been growing in the telecom space like a well-watered plant. However, while the company’s telecom moves have made it huge, its apps are only making it bigger still. One of these is the JioMoney Wallet. Launched just last year, the app has already been installed over 10 million times. Barcode scanning at physical merchant outlets, insurance premium payments, recharge, shopping and utilities – JioMoney covers it all.
Another app from a lender, Pockets is an ICICI Bank initiative. According to the bank, the platform is the first in the country to offer UPI, NFC and Bharat QR code payments. What’s more is that the app also instantly gives you a free virtual VISA card that lets you shop on all apps and sites. In fact, it will even give you a physical card if you request the same. Apart from these features, Pockets also makes room for all kinds of utility bill payments, recharges and bookings.
Few mobile wallets in the country are as popular as MobiKwik. The app is as comprehensive as it is ‘kwik’. Whether it is train or bus bookings, bills, travel or recharge, MobiKwik is one of the best places to tackle it. The app has become such a vital tool for Indians, that the company has even launched MobiKwik Lite, a lighter version of the main platform, that is as useful as the original, though it lacks certain features. The Lite app was rolled out keeping slower connections in mind, and has only served to make MobiKwik more ubiquitous than ever before.