Digital financial services platform MobiKwik is on a partnership-making spree with lending companies, private banks & PSUs and believes this is the way forward for growth. MobiKwik recorded a 192% annual rise in revenue to Rs 38.07 crore for FY16, precipitated financial inclusion in the country and propelled digital transactions much before demonetisation, said co-founder and director Upasana Taku in an interview with FE’s Ondrila S Sarkar.
How has the digital payments landscape changed since November 8, 2016?
We saw an exponential growth of the brand since demonetisation, with average daily transactions growing from 1.5 million pre-demonetisation to 3 million post the decision. The frequency for active users grew by 100% and gross merchandise value (GMV) grew to $2 billion. Over 25% transactions come from semi-urban and rural users and 75% of our users are millennial.
Between us and some of the other players, a lot of efforts were made in order to increase offline retailer presence. About 10 million merchants started accepting digital payments after demonetisation, which is a great thing because prior to that only around 1 million merchants had access to any kind of digital payments method. Similarly we believe that a lot of new jobs were created, a lot of brand awareness and marketing was done. So the net impact digital payments had on our economy is very positive. We will continue to see growth in this sector for the next four-five years.
What is MobiKwik’s current user base and the average ticket size of the transactions?
The number of users are increasing by 3,000 a month and we see around 3 million daily transactions. We have a 65-million core user base in addition to which we have forged strategic partnerships with Bajaj Finance, BSNL and with IndusInd Bank in the banking sector. This would mean a combined users of 260 million users have access to the MobiKwik platform.
How much have you invested this year to expand your user base?
We had committed to spend around Rs 300 crore and we are on track to deploying that and continuing our growth story. Our aim is to definitely get more than 300-350 million users and similarly take it 10 million merchants from our 2 million base. We continue to invest whether it is in terms of people, awareness, brand marketing and also in the product and platform.
Will we see a payments bank powered by MobiKwik in 2018?
Absolutely not. MobiKwik has no intention of becoming a bank or a payments bank and our strategy is clear. We want to make not just digital payments, but all kinds of financial services very easy to use. We want to evolve from a consumer payments brand to a consumer fintech brand but in order to make that happen we do not believe that doing everything ourselves, getting a banking licence and insurance licence is the right strategy. We believe that having the right platform, where users and retailers are connected via transactions, is the right strategy and in order to deliver financial services, we will be leveraging partnerships.
RBI has instructed all wallets to become interoperable in the next six months. How will this impact you?
This will increase and improve the credibility of a wallet because it becomes like your bank. You can transfer the money anywhere. So it brings more liquidity and more credibility to the wallets and I think it’s due to the efforts of all the players including us that there has been a significant uptick in this sector. I think it’s an excellent decision by the RBI and a step in the right direction and will only boost consumer confidence.
How will MobiKwik spur financial inclusion in 2018?
We are going great guns in terms of enabling all our partners to bring their users to the MobiKwik platform. Through our partnership with BSNL, we hope to bring all the people of the northeastern areas and Jharkhand and other areas where inclusion is very poor onto our platform. We are trying to become a financial services power house and we will be doing many more partnerships to strengthen our network in a much faster manner than what we can do independently.