August 8, 2013
India is a country with a growing population of over 1.5 Billion. India has over 240 million people who have bank accounts. The statistics presented is a good indication that the introduction of mobile wallets payments system would be a hit in Indian context. Fast forward to the present day and we see that the concept of mobile wallets has not grown to the extent as was initially thought. The reason behind the failure of adoption of mobile wallets has been the traditional mind set of doing transactions mostly through cash.
Big corporations such as Amazon, Flipkart, Jabong etc. have realized that the way to survive in the Indian market is to give the customer an option to choose cash over cards or any other payment system in general. Similar practice can be seen at the retail outlets of McDonalds. Companies such as McDonalds might be pioneers of introducing mobile wallet system in the USA, but in India they have chosen cash transactions to be a safer bet.
The challenge of playing a safe bet in India is not only seen by the corporations but also by the financial institutions and the telecom operators. Airtel is one of the leading telecom operators in India. Airtel launched Airtel Money an initiative built on the mobile wallets system.
Airtel Money was launched in 2012 and is still functional. In spite of credibility at stake and the huge marketing spend, some of the customers of Airtel Money consider this initiative to be a fraudulent one and have lack of trust in this system. Stating Airtel Money as a fraudulent scheme by the Indian population can be seen on Indian consumer complaint forums. Lack of awareness and lack of trust in such initiatives is halting the rise in adoption of Mobile Wallets system in India.
In spite of all this, through a latest development taken up by the Indian Electric Utility there has been a ray of hope. Generally, Indian customers sweat thinking of standing in a queue and waiting for their turn to pay their electric bills every month. To cater this problem, Indian Electric Utility in Mumbai known as BEST (Brihanmumbai Electricity Supply and Transport) has partnered with third-party aggregator Money Mobile Payment Limited to provide an option to the electric consumers to pay their bills through mobile wallets. According to us this is certainly a ray of hope which will educate the Indian masses on the benefits of Mobile Wallets system which would lead to a drift in mindset of the Indian Consumers.