Paytm on Thursday confirmed the launch of their messaging service and announced ‘Inbox’, an in-app message service that will allow users to chat, send and request money to friends and family.
The news of the payment major launching this service first came out in August this year.
According to the statement released by Paytm, the messaging platform is encrypted end-to-end, allowing users to initiate private conversations and create group chats.
Sitting on the Paytm app, the messenger also allows individuals to send photos and videos instantly, share live location, and capture and share moments with the built-in camera. The company has added a ‘Delete for All’ feature, allowing users to recall their messages.
The company stated that Paytm Inbox will go live on Android and will be available to iOS users soon.
To enhance the user experience, Paytm Inbox also includes ‘Notifications’, ‘Orders’, and ‘Games’.
Under ‘Notifications’, users can see all cashback offers available across all categories; through ‘Orders’, they can view their order and transaction updates; and ‘Games’ will allow users to play engaging cricket and trivia-based games.
The company estimates that this particular feature will also give a boost to millions of merchants such as local retail stores and home-based entrepreneurs, allowing them to interact with their customers and initiate payments through the Paytm ecosystem.
Speaking about the reason for the launch, Deepak Abbot, Senior Vice President, Paytm, said,
“We have realised that besides making payments, our users and merchants also like to communicate with each other. There is a need of social messaging, commerce and payments seamlessly blending into one another. One step for us towards meeting this consumer need is 'Paytm Inbox' where you can chat with friends or merchants and send or receive money effortlessly and securely. This will help us drive greater engagement on our platform and build a stronger bond with our customers.”
Paytm isn’t the only major tapping the social messaging and commerce intersection.
In late August, it was reported that similar to parent company Facebook, WhatsApp has plans to allow businesses to communicate with users on its platform.
Under its FAQ section, the messaging major stated that it will carry a green badge that verifies numbers linked to businesses on the platform. WhatsApp has been working in this direction for two years and has stated that tapping into businesses will be a major part of its monetisation strategy.
Media reports have suggested that the California- based messaging major plans to launch its UPI-based payment service in India by December this year. The company at present claims to have 200 million users in India.
Earlier in June this year, Hike became the first Indian messaging app to launch its payments features, powered by UPI. The messaging service had partnered with Yes Bank for their backend settlement infrastructure.
At that time, Hike had also launched a virtual gift envelope, ‘Blue Packet’ which is similar to Paytm’s Lifafa feature, launched in August this year.
Just last month, the company claimed to have processed transactions worth $1.6 billion on its platform during the Diwali season starting September 20 until October 20.
According to the company, this was a 3.5 times increase in online and offline payments when compared with the same period last year, with 60 percent of this growth coming from Tier 2 and 3 towns.
There is proof that the in-app chat feature has worked in certain geographies. In China, digital payments leader AliPay, which until two years ago had a market monopoly of 90 percent in terms of usage and volumes, was pushed back to 50 percent by main competitor WeChat Pay, Tencent’s payment service.
Being a social messaging leader was one of the reasons why WeChat overthrew leader AliPay on its own home ground.