With an aim to create unique value proposition, Tata Teleservices Limited, had setup the brand mRUPEE to provide semi closed mobile wallet services for its customers in India.
The company is now looking forward to increasing the active retailer network, increasing the merchant network for customers to transact and better engaging the customer base in order to enhance the overall ecosystem for mobile payments.
Pradeep Sampath, COO, MMP Mobi Wallet Payments Systems Ltd speaks with Zia Askari from TelecomDrive.com about the company’s current focus and future plans.
Briefly describe mRUPEE and how it was conceived?
mRUPEE is a Semi Closed Mobile Wallet introduced by MMP Mobi Wallet Payment Systems Ltd., a subsidiary of Tata Teleservices Ltd.
With a view to leverage the distribution reach and understanding of prepaid from a telco environment, Tata Teleservices Limited, had setup the brand mRUPEE to provide Prepaid Payment Services for their customer. A license to provide these services was obtained from Reserve Bank of India and subsequently, the commercial services were launched on January 2013. The envisaged services included peer to peer remittances, Merchant Services and Business to Business to be launched in phases.
What are TTSL’s plans for Growth Strategy for its mobile payment business?
Our growth strategy revolves around creating a meaningful ecosystem that works. This to us means, to have a customer who transacts on a regular basis and not someone who has downloaded a wallet since there was some free money available upon download. For this to work effectively, MMPL positions itself as an enabler of transactions and are on the lookout for partners who would want to enable their customers with a simple prepaid proposition. For e.g., it could be a simple NBFC or an MFI who wants to enable their customers to save money on the wallet to pay for the EMI. If this were to happen we would have helped create an ecosystem where each partner benefits.
Customer knows that this is a convenient tool to save his expenses. The enterprise knows how much money is available in the wallet and what percentage of his collections are assured and hence he can plan his cash flows and MMPL benefits basis the transaction. We are seeing good traction for the services across spectrum but scaling up is going to take some time as these benefits need to percolate downstream and we need to create multiple such reasons for our customer to keep using the wallet.
What are the priorities for mobiwallet payment systems today?
The priorities are three fold viz., increasing the active retailer network basis the customer engagement, increasing the merchant network for customers to transact and get a customer base who is engaged to the platform.
This means finding proper use cases for the customer to create and load money on the wallet on end to getting the right set of merchants for these customers to spend and enabling a retailer network for wallet load and remittance transactions.
What is the expected consumer behavior for this segment?
The increasing adoption of affordable smartphones, tablets and portable PCs is a crucial driver behind changes in consumer payments and transfer systems. With each passing day more consumers use their smart devices to shop online and make transactions.
Furthermore, there are numerous mobile wallet players emerging today allowing their consumers to pay in-store with their mobile devices. The challenge here is not only to provide a secure and convenient mechanism for transferring payment account details to the merchant but to convince the customer to use his mobile wallet over hard cash or credit/debit card.
Securing a large customer base is important but what really matters is to create an ecosystem which will help customers do transactions via mobile wallets themselves. Once the right value proposition is offered to the right target audience we will then begin to see a definite rise in E-payments and M-payments which will ultimately redefine our traditional payment system.
How is mRupee different from its competitors available in the market today?
It is similar to the other wallets that are available in the market with a subtle difference that we are focused on a customer using his cash and bank account to load money on the wallet for convenience and security and not playing a mere Payment Gateway for Debit and Credit Cards.
In your opinion what is the future of mRUPEE in India?
India is experiencing tremendous growth in the use of Internet as well as mobile. As per various estimates, there are a just under a billion cell phone connections in India and the country adds around 6 million new cell phones every month in usage. Although the number of Internet users is still low in comparison – around 200 million users, the conversion of cell phone users to mobile users is fast growing. As per telecom industry estimates, 65% of all new Internet users in India experience their first Internet surfing activity via mobile.
As Internet and mobile penetration continues to increase and result in increased digital commerce, the Reserve Bank of India has been updating the rules associated with flow of money in the virtual economy on a periodic basis. India’s monetary system is tightly controlled by the central bank, which not just looks at the core functions like inflation targeting and rates control, but is also the central regulatory body to which all scheduled and unscheduled banks, cooperative banks and non-banking financial companies report to.
What are some of the big challenges that lie ahead for mRUPEE?
Challenge is in terms of creating and engaging with the ecosystem. The service has to remain relevant to all the stakeholders. This means the customer should be able to easily load more money on the wallet and pay for more goods and services with the highest levels of security. This becomes difficult when we have to develop this simultaneously.