Eko, a mobile-based fintech company, announced the launch of its semi-closed prepaid wallet service. This service has been launched in partnership with National Payments Corporation of India (NPCI) and RBL Bank Limited (formerly The Ratnakar Bank Limited).
Eko Wallet, authorized by the Reserve Bank of India, will simplify payment options among the online buyers and will enable deposits through mobile phones for the low and moderate-income customers across rural and urban geographies. Eko processes over Rs 200 Crore a month in domestic money remittances, and aims to grow this business to Rs 1000 Crore a month by March 2016 with the help of the Wallet.
Through Eko Wallet, citizens are able to send deposits or remittances to any bank account in real time using Immediate Payment Service (IMPS) extended by NPCI. Eko is the first company that started providing real-time domestic money transfer service to citizens in 2009 in partnership with banks. However, the facility was available only to the banks’ customers. Through the PPI license and partnership with NPCI, Eko’s own customers will also be able to send real-time remittances to any bank account, thereby enabling Eko to market customer-facing innovations with agility and scale the service more rapidly.
Eko Wallet will also offer utility bill payments, retail merchant payments, 1-click mobile payments and other emerging mobile money capabilities to neo economically active customers via its apps and point-of-sale presence.
Speaking at the occasion, Mr. Abhishek Sinha, Co-founder and Chief Executive Officer, Eko India Financial Services Private Limited said, "NPCI is indeed the crown jewel in the country’s payments technology infrastructure. NPCI is leading the initiative of unbundling payments in the country and Eko will be very quickly moving to integrate with other interfaces being extended by NPCI including AEPS, APBS, BBPS, RuPay, UPI, etc. to leverage the payments infrastructure to its fullest. It is indeed an important milestone for Eko to have completed the integration with IMPS. We thank Mr. Hota and his team for their guidance and support in the same. With our unique technology platform and API stack that we are keen to extend to other companies, we are exploring multiple synergies with our existing partner banks, other banks and other key players in the payments landscape.”
Commenting on the launch, Mr. A. P. Hota, Managing Director and Chief Executive Officer, National Payments Corporation of India (NPCI) said “With unique feature of instant confirmation and its availability on weekends and holidays, IMPS became consumers’ first choice for doing financial transactions across the country. With introduction of IMPS for Eko Wallets, Eko has broadened the base for wallet usage and will increase business by leveraging IMPS.”
PPI players keep the customers’ money in escrow accounts maintained with banks. Eko has partnered with RBL Bank for this facility.
Commenting on the launch, Mr. Rajeev Ahuja, Head - Strategy, RBL Bank Limited said, “The rapidly changing payments landscape in India truly reflects the huge potential of our marketplace. Consumers across the spectrum are fast adapting to this new model of payments for ecommerce, remittances, bill payments, mobile recharge, travel bookings etc. We are particularly happy to be partner with Eko for the launch of this E-Wallet as it fits well with the DNA of our Bank which is focused on offering cutting-edge products/services across segments thereby creating customer delight.”
Mr. Sinha further added, “I would also like to thank RBL Bank, Mr. Ahuja and his team for being our Escrow Bank partner. RBL Bank has shown tremendous understanding of how the payments landscape is opening in the country and this is reflected in the bank’s and its team’s pro-activeness. I will also take this opportunity to thank our partner banks led by State Bank of India, ICICI Bank, Yes Bank and IndusInd Bank, who saw the uniqueness of our technology and user experience. They were the first ones to take the bet on Eko and its path-breaking model of appointing retail shops as banking correspondents. They helped us get to a level where we could get our own Prepaid Payment Instrument (PPI) license and set us up on a path to be now independent and autonomous.”
Eko is looking to offer a multitude of new products and services in the payments domain using its wallet license, product assets and NPCI partnership.
Speaking on this, Mr. Sinha added, “We believe that we now have a framework that is available to us at a significantly lesser cost and with complete ownership of the product. This framework of PPI supported by the foundation of NPCI, Aadhaar, rapid adoption of smartphones, millions of customers having PMJDY accounts with DBT transfers, combined with the innovation quotient of our team, is a unique canvas for Eko to bring disruptive payment & financial services to the market”.
Eko platform till now has securely processed over Rs 18,000 Crore worth of transactions over 34 million transactions serving over 10 million customers.