India is finally realising the potential of mobile wallets. From paying bills to recharging your pre-paid mobile number, Indians are now looking to apps in their phones to fulfil the transaction.
Apps like PayTM, MobiKwik and Freecharge are seeing a surge in downloads thanks to their ability to let customers pay for anything from their DTH bills to taxi tabs and online shopping bills. It helps that there are big and generous cashbacks and discounts when you use these services to pay for your purchases.
These apps have also made online transactions safer as there is a only limited exposure of your bank details or credit card numbers. Here is a look at the top five apps in this category:
Paytm tops the list as it is very user-friendly and super fast. Users can recharge their pre-paid or post-paid mobiles almost instantly. The service also offers DTH recharge, taxi payments and mobile shopping for electronics, fashion products, home furnishing and baby products.
Paytm currently is offering a cashback of up to Rs 10,000 on best-selling smartphones, home & kitchen appliances and 50 per cent discount on cameras and camera accessories. It is likely that the next time you log in your Paytm account, you will find a brand new set of deals. Cashbacks get transferred back to your Paytm wallet automatically once the item is delivered.
But it has its limitations too as the money stored in the Paytm wallet can only be used for recharge and transactions through Paytm. For example, if I buy an electronic product and get a cashback of Rs 2,000 then I won’t be able to spend it on something that isn’t available on Paytm. This is, however, good for people who use Paytm frequently for booking movie tickets, ordering food or paying for Uber rides.
The feature that makes Paytm stand out is that users can actually bargain for over three million products on the site with other users through the chat feature. It offers a wide range of products and services to choose from.
MobiKwik offers the most elaborate range of services, which include things like getting mobile, DTH, Data card recharge and paying gas and insurance bills etc. The app, however, gives you limited service provider options under electricity, gas, insurance and water category.
The only service provider option available for paying your water bill is Bangalore Water Supply (BWSS). Similarly, one can only pay for ICICI Prudential, Tata AIA and Birla Sun life insurances under the insurance category.
MobiKwik, just like Paytm, has tie-ups with various brands such as Big Bazaar, Big Basket, Myntra, Zivame etc and offers cashbacks and discounts. It also has an online wallet. But if you compare the variety and number of products Paytm offers with that of MobiKwik, you are in for disappointment.
Also, in most of the brands that I tried to shop from, I was greeted with a message, ‘We are not running any offers with this merchant as of now’.
Unlike Paytm, you can transfer money to bank accounts of your friends and family with MobiKwik. So, this gives MobiKwik an edge over Paytm as the latter allows money transfer only to other Paytm wallets.
Next up, we have FreeCharge. The company claims its users can recharge or pay their bills in less than 10 seconds and they may actually be right. With a good internet connection, one doesn’t need more than 10 seconds to recharge online. This is probably the quickest way to recharge your phone.
The service provides pre-paid and post-paid mobile recharge. It also offers DTH and Data Card recharge. It also has a Metro recharge option, but gives you only Mumbai Metro to choose from.
FreeCharge also offers a mobile wallet option. It does not provide any other utility bill paying services like MobiKwik and Paytm, but does a good job in getting phone and DTH recharges done.
Additionally, it sometimes provides users with coupons valid at places such as McDonalds, CCD, Barista, PVR etc and also cashbacks.
PayUmoney is very similar to MobiKwik and allows you to pay for gas, electricity bills apart from mobile and DTH recharge. The app has a visual appeal to it thanks to the large icons.
This, however, is not the best place to shop online. It falls behind Paytm and MobiKwik in more ways than one. The service offers a limited range of products, services and discounts to choose from. Then, there’s minimum order value to fulfill or discounts are limited to a purchase of ‘up to’ some amount, something that I came across when I browsed through its Diwali sale.
PayUmoney too is fast provided you have a good internet connection. But, if you’ve already tried Paytm and other services, it is highly unlikely that PayUmoney will impress you.
LafaLafa may not recharge your phone or pay your bills, but it the best way to keep a track of top deals offered by apps that do. It selects few top deals provided by services like Paytm and FreeCharge and lists them on its home page.
LafaLafa gives you pretty good discounts on online shopping which is evident from the fact that a particular smartphone brand (same model) is available for about Rs 400 less on the site. The service has tie-ups with brands like Shopclues.com, American Swan, FabAlley, SnapDeal, FoodPanda etc. It enlists top deals from top stores under ‘Top Stores’ option.
The third good thing about the service is that you can directly transfer the cash in your wallet to your bank account