Money and its exchange have evolved over time. Going from Barter to Metallic coins, Notes and finally reaching the Plastic & Digital Money. Every step on this course has brought a huge change in the trade system and the way transactions are carried out.
With nearly 1.91 billion Smart Phone users and more than 7 Billion Internet users in the world today, having an E-Wallet rather than carrying Currency or Metal Striped Cards has started making sense.
It all started with the need for paying in style. The wealthy hated carrying cash around on them, so with time and innovation came along Plastic Money. The man flaunted his metal stripped card and the world watched the power of money in amusement. What power! What style!
First were the Hotels, Restaurants and Fashion stores, then all over sellers have started offering acceptance of payments through cards. The idea picked on. Banks started issuing Credit Cards, then Debit Cards, Gift Cards and so on. Everybody who had a bank account was enjoying this freedom.
With the advent of the internet, the idea exploded to un-imaginary proportions. The process of payment was very simple. No paper or signature required. Just a password keyed in and all payments done. Everyone reachable to this boon called Internet could make electronic payments without cards.
All kinds of ‘payment felicitating service providers’ were born with various schemes which eventually gave birth to the concept of an E-wallet account.
The E-wallets first started as preloaded cash accounts for electronic payments through only desktops. They now have become synonymous to smartphone bank accounts as well.
Recently they have also evolved into allowing the transfer of E-wallet account balance to a bank account for requirements of cash and other purposes. Hence making every penny in the wallet physically available whenever needed.
E-wallets have now become a nearly a free facility and, in fact, a necessity for everyone. Competition among E-wallet service providers is only making the patch greener for the normal E-walleteer with great cashback and discounts on every transaction.
For those of you who aren’t making the best of this need to know that it breaks the shackles of additional charges unlike when we use a credit card. There are no minimum balance requirements. Payments can be of any amount to any other E-wallet/bank account. These are some of the major benefits as the service providers don’t charge any percentage for receiving payments by a seller. The actual cash is preloaded in the E-wallet account and is lying with the E-Walleteer at its disposal anytime as soon as it is transferred back into the bank account (P.S. – Some service providers charge for this service).
The total payment process now completely falls under the sight of the E-walleteer as there is no need of trusting others with your cash or card at a restaurant. As it’s a prepaid balance account, there is no possibility of payments being declined as long as there is sufficient balance to cover the transaction.
Tremendous scope of increase in the volume of business and market size as wherever smartphone users are there, sales and business shall happen thereby helping reduction in prices due to the economy of scales. E-Wallet helps cut costs on lost cards and wrong payments, and also helps curb the peril of Black Money as every transaction is instantly traceable.
There is enough room for the E-wallet industry to evolve as it is directly linked to Smartphones and their innovations. It is a step closer to turning a smartphone into our metaphorical backbone.
Yet, there are a few dilemmas an E-walleteer has to live through. In the case of a lost phone, the security data and pins are very close to being exploited. Another issue is with the E-wallet service providers not providing the facility for transferring balance to a bank account without a marginal charge. Generally, 4% of the amount being transferred is being charged, varies from provider to provider.
It’s a little difficult to bring in a new culture among the masses. Conventional means of monetary transactions still feel much safer as there are beliefs that the technology is still evolving.
People don’t trust an E-Wallet Infrastructure and think it is in internet shackles. Payments without charges are possible to only those E-Walleteers, Service Providers and Establishments having a same service provider account. Cross platform (w-wallet service provider) payments aren’t possible. We must understand that the customer and the product are still on the course of association and will see better results in the near future.
India is one of the biggest booming markets for E-Wallet service providers. Many on the fore-front like PayUmoney, Paytm, Oxigen Wallet, MobiKwick, m-pesa and FreeCharge are aggressive with their marketing strategy to bag the biggest piece of this pie. Coming around of Uber, Ola and Taxi For Sure have pushed even cab drivers to make use of E-Wallets.
All in all, irrespective of the drawbacks, E-wallets are still increasing in leaps and bounds with the Reserve Bank of India allowing payments bank licences which are having all the features of E-wallet accounts.
It is only a matter of time that India will be grouped with the topmost nations of the world doing transactions through E-wallet accounts only.
I believe Technology will be the bellwether for mankind and I enjoy a good talk on Global Affairs. Some of my other indulgences - Motorcycles, New Words for my Vocabulary and Delicious Food Everyday.