Top Digital Wallets in India

    The India economy has been a cash-based economy traditionally. However, the trend has now been bucked due to the widespread adoption of smart phones. The much favourable regulatory environment has also helped the push towards digital payments. The Indian government’s demonetisation scheme in November 2016 proved to be the inflexion point when digital payment was propagated throughout the country. Adoption of these digital payments systems at places like petrol pumps, tolls plazas, local brick and mortar shops have helped a lot as well. The digital payments market is still dominated by debit and credit card transactions with card transactions accounting for 60% of total digital transactions volume. The fastest growing segment of digital payments, however, is Prepaid Payment Instruments (PPIs), which has grown at a CAGR of 97% from FY13 to FY17 and now account for 10% of the total digital payments volume. Mobile-wallet is the largest category within PPIs, but the segment also includes prepaid cards (including gift cards) as well as other paper vouchers. Comparatively, card transactions have grown at an annual CAGR of only 14% between FY13 and FY17. Here, we have collated for you the best digital wallets that are in use in India at this moment.

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    8Freecharge:

    Freecharge was the mobile wallet which was reckoned to be the best bet for all investors during 2014-16. Started in August 2010 by Kunal Shah and Sandeep Tandon, Freecharge is headquartered at Gurgaon. After getting seeded by Sequoia Capital and Tandon Group in 2010, Freecharge was able to secure Series A funding from Sequoia Capital in 2011 for INR 200 million. By fag end of 2012, Freecharge was estimated to be facilitating online recharge of INR 6 million on a daily basis which would translate to INR 2 billion per year. It was also named as the most promising tech startup in 2011 and was destined for stupendous growth.

    After 3 years of sustained growth, it was able to bag Series B funding of US $33 million from Sequoia Capital, Ru-Net and Sofina which at that time was the biggest funding raised by an Indian startup. In 2015, Freecharge further raised $80 Million from Hong Kong-based fund Tybourne Capital Management and SF-based fund Valiant Capital Management along with few other existing investors.

    In March 2015, Snapdeal acquired Freecharge for the US $400 million. And thus began the downfall of Freecharge. Freecharge in lieu of being associated with Snapdeal went into a free fall mostly due to the crisis at Snapdeal and the failed deal when Flipkart wanted to acquire Snapdeal. Their market valuation took a huge hit and Freecharge was assessed to be a bleeding startup. On 27th July 2017 Axis Bank finally bought out Freecharge for the US $60 million as compared to the US $400 million for which Snapdeal had bought it just 2 years ago. Freecharge, in its present structure, facilitates recharges and bill payments of basic utilities like mobile recharges and bill payments, DTH bill payments, internet and telephone bill payments, electricity bill payments, gas and water bill payments etc.. It also allows merchant payments for in-store bill payments but at a very basic level.

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