Freecharge, new OS of Indian digital payments

FreechargeAfter its inception and making a thorough mark as a digital wallet, Freecharge, an online recharge platform owned by online marketplace Snapdeal, is aiming itself to being an ‘operating system’ for a digital payments system through partnerships with vendors and banks across India, an official has informed.

“Freecharge would partner with banks and expand the market by focusing on getting more vendors to use its mobile wallet to receive or make payments for goods and services,” says Govind Rajan, chief operating officer, Freecharge.

“The biggest issue is acceptance (of digital payments by traders). The experience of acceptance is the thing we need to crack.”

“India is a hyper-competitive market. You just can’t go to a merchant and say ‘use digital payments’ to save costs,” he added.

Freecharge, which claims to have eight million active users, signed up as a sponsor for the Indian Premier League cricket tournament recently and committed to spending Rs 100 crore.

“Just like an android platform or Apple iOS, we want Freecharge to be operating system for payments,” says Rajan.

“Our philosophy is to grow with partners. If the system grows, we will grow.”

Snapdeal had acquired Freecharge in April for $400 million, one of the largest deals in the consumer internet space in India. The deal, a combination of stock and cash, helped Snapdeal get a platform for digital wallets and compete effectively with players such as Paytm, which is expanding into e-commerce.

The acquisition is also critical at a time when India is witnessing a surge in consumers using digital wallets to pay for goods and services such as taxi.


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