Mukesh Ambani-promoted Reliance Jio’s partnership with Uber, the American cab-hailing company announced on Monday, signals a larger battle in the mobile wallet space where Paytm leads with over 160 million users.
In Uber, too, Paytm has been a preferred partner for the longest time. But that might change.
“Digital payments have become part of our everyday lives and by integrating JioMoney as a payment option, our riders will have the ability to use a familiar and consistent payment experience,” said Madhu Kannan, chief business officer, India and Emerging Markets for Uber.
In a statement, Reliance Jio said that it will offer exclusive incentives for people who opt to use JioMoney, the mobile wallet app, for Uber payments. It also plans to extend its services.
The mobile wallet business has surged after demonetisation which sucked out 86% of India’s currency in circulation. More than five million wallet users were added in the wake of demonetisation.
Reliance Jio might have missed that cycle. “Airtel could not gather the critical user base while the intent was to do the same (like Paytm). A lot will depend on how Jio incentivises Uber users,” said Sanchit Vir Gogia, CEO and chief analyst, Greyhound Research.
Jio claims to have 72 million telephony subscribers. It does not give out subscriber details of its JioMoney users, but it said that the mobile wallet will play a critical role for growth.
“JioMoney’s integration with Uber will power the rapid migration of many more Uber transactions to the digital platform,” said Anirban S Mukherjee, business head of JioMoney.
Ambani wants to build what he calls Jio Life, where Jio users will be able to watch television, listen to music, shop and make payments, make calls, play games, and even book a cab, using one service.
But there’s competition.
Both Paytm and MobiKwik are looking at adding a large number of merchants – they already have one million each – to make cashless payments ubiquitous. There is also competition from SBI Buddy, government-backed BHIM app, and Snapdeal’s FreeCharge.