BENGALURU: E-wallet Mobikwik is going to charge consumers anywhere between Rs 100 and Rs 140 as “wallet maintenance charge” from inactive users, a first in the Indian market.
The levy will kick in if users don’t reactivate the wallet after a seven-day notice period. The new policy was rolled out on Sunday evening and stands effective immediately.
While this update has already triggered some criticism among users, Mobikwik executives said it will refund the money if a user reactivates the wallet even after the maintenance fee has been debited and does a transaction.
Industry executives, however, said this would antagonise users instead of making them come back.
According to Reserve Bank of India rules, it is up to e-wallets to decide if they want to charge users for inactive wallets but a consumer can still complain to the regulator since this was not the policy when they joined the platform, industry executives added.
Chandan Joshi, who was made co-founder and CEO of payments business at Mobikwik last year, said, “We will charge you if you don’t even come back to the app and log in. If you come back even within 40 days of deduction of the maintenance charge, we will refund it to you,” said Joshi. He said the notification has currently gone to users who have been inactive for four-five years.
If a user has only Rs 50 left in her Mobikwik wallet, the company will be able to deduct that much. But if a user has Rs 200 in the wallet, then the balance would fall to Rs 100, if the maintenance charge levied is Rs 100. Typically, the balance in an inactive wallet would be low.
Paytm and PhonePe are bigger e-wallet players but none of them have implemented any such charge yet for their inactive users .Though Mobikwik had initially kept a minimum transaction size of Rs 100 to reactivate wallets, Joshi–after TOI’s query, said it is in the process of doing away with any minimum transaction size, based on consumer feedback. As of Monday evening, the Rs 100 transaction size was still mentioned on Mobikwik’s website.
“There are a lot of costs associated with maintaining these wallets. We are allowed to report inactive accounts to RBI but we can delete them only three years after reporting them. So, we have to start cleaning up accounts, we have to streamline everything for the future,” Joshi said.
He added the company’s intent is not to charge users but to filter which users really want to stay back and use its services. Mobikwik claims to have around 100 million users but industry sources estimate 70-80 million active e-wallet users across platforms.
A part of e-wallet users have also moved on to payment instruments like the Unified Payments Interface (UPI), which transfers money directly from a bank account to another without having to first load the money in a wallet.