Joining the rather frenzied list of Indian e-commerce brands launching their own mobile wallets in India, Amazon too, is reportedly planning to have its own digital wallet. According to a report in the Times Of India, Amazon has applied for a license of semi-closed wallet through its subsidiary company Amazon Online Distribution Services(AODS).
The new applications will be reviewed by a central bank committee next month. According to the sources, Amazon may open its wallet for third-party platforms as well, if it does end up getting that license.
On being contacted, Amazon neither confirmed nor denied these reports.
A spokesperson of the company said in an email,
A trusted, easy, convenient and friction-free payment experience has always been one of Amazon’s key pillars, globally and in India. We are driven by customer demands and seek every opportunity to do what it takes so that our customers benefit. We cannot comment specifically on what we may or may not do.
It is noteworthy that Amazon already has a wallet-like feature for its customers in the form of Amazon Gift Cards. These gifts cards can be recharged up to 10000 INR and can be used to make purchases on Amazon.
Interestingly, QwikCilver Solutions, which powers these cards, also got a semi-closed wallet license from RBI in 2013. After that, Amazon had bought a minority stake in the company in 2014.
A semi-closed wallet will allow only specific merchants having a tie-up with the company to accept payments from the users through the wallet. A closed wallet, on the other hand, allows only one merchant whereas open wallet doest not require any tie-ups and can be used freely for payments and cash withdrawals.
There have been reports in the past few months about the global e-commerce giant strengthening its digital payments technology, especially going by its acquisition of Noida-based payments gateway firm Emvantage last month.
The firm recently also brought in former Citibanker Sriraman Jagannathan to head its payment business. Jagannathan is known for its contribution in building the digital wallet, Airtel Money for Bharti Airtel in 2012.
Before Amazon, a slew of Indian and global unicorns have already launched their own digital wallets to complement their core offerings. Some of the recent ones include Ola Cabs (Ola Money) and Flipkart (Flipkart Money) whereas Snapdeal has been in the payments territory for almost an year now post its $400 Million+ acquisition of FreeCharge. Further, Shopclues too is reportedly in penultimate stages of a closing an acquisition deal with mobile payments startup Momoe, bringing it in a level-playing field with bigger players, all owning their own digital wallet platforms.
In addition to these, there are reports of Uber also planning to launch its own digital wallet in the country.