In the last ten years or so, the telecom sector in India has seen a tremendous increase in the number of subscribers. Due to many handset and mobile service providers competing for this large market, the wireless telephone subscriber base has shot up. India is now the second largest consumer in the worldwide telecom market, China being the first.
With this steep rise of users with access to at least basic mobile telephones, comes in the possibility of The Mobile Payment Gateway. Once a very farfetched notion to have the mobile phone act as a wallet, has now become possible with the advent of several mobile service providers offering this feature to their customers at very affordable prices.
A recent entrant to this market is Airtel M Commerce Services Ltd, a fully owned subsidiary of BhartiAirtel. Their new service,
‘Airtel Money’ allows their subscribers to make money transactions using their phones. This facility is made available through 300 key cities and 7000 merchant outlets. The consumer basically has to load money to his/her phone and use that money to make payments.
The options and features for payments vary depending on the kind of account the consumer chooses to open. The ‘Express’ Account gives you a daily spend limit of Rs. 10,000(INR). This can be spent to pay utility bills and phone balance recharges only.
The more exciting type of account is the ‘Power’ account. This gives you a daily spend limit Rs. 50,000(INR) which has can be used to pay for utility bills, phone balance recharges, products at merchant outlets, and online purchases. What’s more is that the ‘Power’ account can also be used to transfer funds from one Airtel Money account to another.
Through a strong marketing strategy and some really neat advertisements, Airtel has been able to get a strong foothold in this new market. Using the mobile to transfer funds between individuals will open up a lot of new opportunities in the sector. Till now, people have used slow procedures like money orders and drafts to transfer funds. Airtel Money will definitely offer a viable substitute to this slow process of money transfer.
Currently Airtel Money can be used at a variety of Merchant establishments like general stores, movie theatres, pharmacies and grocery stores etc. It will also be soon expanding to Online stores like Flipkart, Yatra and many others.
Conclusion: Airtel Money and the future of Mobile payments in India.
Airtel has been successful in creating a good brand image around the ‘Airtel Money’ service. In many ways, I do think that Mobile payment gateways have a huge potential market in India. Speedy transactionsand reduction in unnecessary paperwork, are going to be strong selling points for this market.We may soon see a day when carrying a wallet would be unnecessary.
About the author: Abhishek Kaul is a Professional Web designer and Online Marketing Consultant. He is also a Technology enthusiast who shares his views on a variety of subjects that interest him, at his blog, The Tech Weekly.