It’s been a heady couple of years for Indian digital wallets. Led by Paytm, they’ve amassed huge user bases, raised tremendous amounts of capital, and seen incredible amounts of cash go through their platforms. But all major players in the space have been startups – quick footed and nimble, they’ve made the best use of the market opportunity and acted fast. But finally a big player has taken note and decided to throw its hat in the wallets ring. Reliance quietly launched its JioMoney wallet on the Play Store yesterday.
At first glance, JioMoney doesn’t seem all that different from the other digital wallets that are around. Its chief purpose appears to be to allow customers to use it to store money and purchase goods through it. The wallet, expectedly, also allows for recharges and bill payments, and much like FreeCharge’s latest feature, let people send each other money through it.
But that is where it gets interesting. Like Paytm, Reliance doesn’t want its wallet to merely remain in the online space, and wants its adoption at physical stores. There’s an option of “Pay at shop” on the app, which will let users pay at small mom and pop stores across the country. Now Reliance has distribution muscle that no startup can possibly rival, and if it gets serious about getting its wallet getting widespread acceptance at small stores, it could well steal a march over other players. Reliance has been testing JioMoney Merchant since October last year. This service allows owners of any kind of business to create an account with the company and start accepting payments.
And like every other wallet, JioMoney hopes to lure in users with discounts and offers. On the day of the inception of the wallet, there are quite a few offers already on the app.
JioMoney looks like a fairly complete wallet, but the only thing that could stand against it is timing. The market leader, Paytm, already has over 120 million users, and might be difficult to displace. Users can only have so many wallet apps on their phones, and down the line it’s likely the industry will have just one or two big players. But if Reliance can use its financial and organizational heft to its advantage, India’s wallet industry might just be upturned.