Digital India 2012 Trends – Part 7

Mobile Payments: Mired in regulation

One of the big boosters for monetisation on the Internet and eCommerce can come from enabling mobile payments. Here, regulation by RBI and the payout regime from the DoT has ensured that mass-scale mobile payments remain a mirage.

Imagine being able to pay for a book you bought by just having it added it to the phone bill (or being deducted from a prepaid amount). If this process is simplified, then even an SMS sent by a merchant can turn into an actionable transaction with the consumer just smsing a Y to complete the purchase.

To make this happen, while the theory of mobile wallets happens, the process is simply too cumbersome. For sub-thousand rupee payments, we need a simpler process. Operators should have not to pay service tax and revenue share to the government on these charges. They can take a transaction fee (3-10%), and pass on the rest to the merchant.

Unfortunately, 2012 is unlikely to see much change on this front.