Indian digital payments platform MobiKwik has confirmed that there is a policy change that will now mean inactive users will now have to pay something called as “wallet maintenance charges”. This, to the best of our memory, is the first of its kind move in the competitive digital payments and mobile wallets space in India. MobiKwik confirms that inactive users will be invited to log in to their MobiKwik accounts as part of the Reactivation program, in the hope that they experience the new features, the in-app offers and hopefully make some transactions. This policy is now active for all MobiKwik users, irrespective of Minimum KYC or Full KYC wallets. Users who are inactive for a period of 1 year will be at risk of incurring these charges, the company confirms to News18.
The way this works is that if you remain inactive or logged out from the MobiKwik app on your phone for a period of 1 year, the account will be considered inactive. MobiKwik will then send a notification to reactivate. At this point, a user just has to login into the MobiKwik app again to become Active. The idea is to make the user try out the new features, the offers available on a variety of transactions and payments as well as try transactions again. “Users who were Inactive for more than a year were sent a notification to reactivate. Users need to just login to their MobiKwik account to become Active again. Once Active, users can freely use their existing wallet balances to pay bills, shop online, transfer money, etc.,” the company says in an official statement, shared with News18. This is where things get complicated. MobiKwik says that users who still don’t reactivate their accounts may have to pay what is called “wallet maintenance charges”, to keep the wallet services functional. However, and bear with us on this one—MobiKwik says that any wallets that are zero balance wallets, which means there is no money residing in a MobiKwik wallet, will not be charged the “wallet maintenance charges”. Details are scarce at this time about how much amount will be charged from inactive MobiKwik users, and we await a clarification from the company on that.
This may be a very dangerous move by MobiKwik, something that could alienate inactive users and further reduce their chances of returning to the digital payment platform. Particularly when competition is tough. Users have multiple options to choose from, including Paytm, PhonePe, Google Pay and Amazon Pay, to name a few. MobiKwik claims to have more than 120 million users, making it one of the largest payments network in the country, alongside support at 3 million merchants and more than 300 billers across India. MobiKwik also says they have pre-approved 20 million users for its Buy Now Pay Later “BNPL” product called MobiKwik Zip, which is available to users for making payments via the MobiKwik Wallet and the MobiKwik Blue Amex Card.
It may be interesting to see how the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) responds to this, if at all. As per the current guidelines, mobile wallet and digital payment platforms can decide to levy a charge for maintaining inactive accounts. At this time, none of MobiKwik’s very popular rivals including Paytm, PhonePe or Amazon Pay levy such a charge, for instance, even if you have been inactive for a while. There are chances that a lot of MobiKwik users, including those who may currently be categorised as inactive, may also already be using payment apps such as Paytm or PhonePe for bill payments, mobile recharges, utility bill payments and making digital payments for offline and online shopping, and may turn their back on MobiKwik for good.