Following in the footsteps of its sister entity Ekart, Flipkart-owned digital payments arm PhonePe is now geared up to develop independent fintech solutions, particularly insurance and mutual products.
Besides fulfilling the Flipkart’s needs, PhonePe is also building solutions that are correlated to its knowledge expertise. The company is open to partnerships with large-scale companies to co-create independent fintech solutions, reports Livemint.
PhonePe has entered into a strategic partnership with another digital payments app FreeCharge. With this partnership, PhonePe customers will be able to spend their Freecharge wallet balance at all online and offline merchant outlets that accept the PhonePe payments container.
Commenting on the partnership, Hemant Gala, Head Banking Products & Strategic Partnerships, PhonePe said, “We are delighted to partner with FreeCharge and offer our customers the option of using their Freecharge wallet inside the PhonePe app. This is in line with our vision of making PhonePe India’s first truly open payments platform, where customers can use any and all payment instruments of their choice.”
FreeCharge customers will also be able to recharge and pay bills and shop at various offline and online stores that PhonePe has tied up with. PhonePe is currently live across more than 60 thousand online and offline merchants including MakeMyTrip, PVR, Cleartrip, 1mg, FreshMenu, Faasos and Abhibus and most national offline chains like Café Coffee Day, Apollo Pharmacy, KFC, Barista, Spencer’s, FoodWorld etc.
Flipkart had acquired the digital payments solution provider PhonePe in April, 2016 to strengthen its payment gateway. PhonePe has since developed a number of digital payment solutions including UPI-based payments, Bluetooth enabled POS, debit card-EMI facility and more.
The app achieved a total payments volume (TPV) annual run rate of $6.1 Bn (INR 40,000 Cr) within 14 months of its launch. The company is heading to double this metric by March 2018. The app claims to have processed over 1 Mn daily transactions worth over $15.4 Mn (INR 100 Cr) in November, 2017.
As reported by Inc42 earlier in 2017, Flipkart has been in talks with Bookmyshow, Urban Ladder Swiggy, Zomato and other companies to enhance its online consumer base and platform. And, PhonePe can play a big role in integrating the digital payments altogether.
Launched to fulfil Flipkart’s logistics needs, Ekart, last year, had also gone solo signing contracts with other companies such as TataCliq, Voonik and Adidas.
Kalyan Krishnamurthy, CEO of Flipkart, in his short tenure of one year, has given Flipkart a number of reasons to rejoice. The company has raised $4 Bn in funding since then. And, now, Krishnamurthy is focussed on enhancing customer experience, in order to increase active monthly users.
Krishnamurthy stated, “Whatever we do in Flipkart is to enhance the customer experience of the retail customer. What Flipkart will look to do is offer extremely flexible and easy payments solutions for customers. We want to ensure that we get more customers and get them to transact more often—that will be the objective of any kind of a financing and affordability construct which Flipkart will get into. Flipkart’s fintech play will be heavily tied to retail.”
Committed to taking Flipkart to new heights, Krishnamurthy also recently stated that the company will aim to increase its monthly active customers by a minimum of 2.5x. PhonePe, one of the early providers of UPI-based solutions, can help Flipkart to achieve the target, especially since the company is facng stiff competition from Paytm and rival Amazon India.
After the massive $460 Mn funding commitment to Ekart last year, Flipkart had also promised a $500 Mn investment in PhonePe. Since then, PhonePe has been working on building and co-creating independent solutions.
In December, 2017, the Flipkart-owned digital payments platform had forged a partnership with SafeGold to launch a digital gold product. This enabled users to buy and sell certified 24-karat gold via the PhonePe app.
Fintech is one of the fastest-growing sectors in India after ecommerce. As payments go mobile, Flipkart with PhoenPe’s innovative solutions wants to encash the same on a large scale. The co-creation of insurance and mutual fund products might be a step in that direction.