PhonePe is an Indian digital wallet platform and online payment company headquartered in Bangalore, India. PhonePe was founded in December 2015, by Sameer Nigam, Rahul Chari and Burzin Engineer. The PhonePe app, based on the Unified Payments Interface (UPI), went live in August 2016.
The PhonePe app is available in over 11 Indian languages. Using PhonePe, users can send and receive money, recharge mobile, DTH, data cards, make utility payments, pay at shops, invest in tax saving funds, liquid Funds, buy insurance and mutual funds and gold. In addition PhonePe also allows users to book Ola rides, pay for Redbus tickets, and book flights and hotels on Goibibo through the Switch platform.
PhonePe is accepted as a payment option at over 10 million offline and online merchant outlets across 400 cities in India covering food, travel, groceries, medicines, movie tickets etc. The app crossed 100 million user mark in June 2018 and also crossed 5 billion transactions in December 2019. It currently has over 200 million users. The company launched the PhonePe ATM in January 2020. The PhonePe ATM allows neighbourhood Kirana stores to dispense cash in real-time to customers.
PhonePe is licensed by the Reserve Bank of India for issuance and operation of a Semi Closed Prepaid Payment system with Authorization Number: 75/2014 dated 22 August 2014.
FxMart received its licence to operate on 26 August 2014. PhonePe was incorporated in December 2015. In April 2016, the company was acquired by Flipkart. and as a part of the Flipkart acquisition, the FxMart license was transferred to PhonePe and it was rebranded as the PhonePe wallet. PhonePe’s founder Sameer Nigam was appointed as the CEO of the company.
In August 2016, the company partnered with Yes Bank to launch a UPI-based mobile payment app, based on the government-backed UPI platform.
Within 3 months of launch, the app was downloaded by over 10 million users. In 2018, PhonePe also became the fastest Indian payment app to get a 50 million badge on the Google play store. The PhonePe app overtook BHIM to emerge as the market leader in UPI transactions in August 2017.
Innovation and Partnerships
PhonePe helps merchants to accept payments through all UPI-based apps, debit and credit card, as well as wallet (Including third party wallets) on the app.
In October 2017, PhonePe launched a low-cost POS device built in India. The Bluetooth enabled POS device looks like a calculator and works with AA batteries. The hardware uses Bluetooth connectivity and enables payments through all the mobile devices that can access the PhonePe app.
PhonePe partnered with Freecharge in January 2018. This partnership enabled PhonePe users to link their existing Freecharge wallets to the PhonePe app. PhonePe has also entered into similar partnerships with Jio Money and Airtel Money.
PhonePe has partnered with RedBus, Ola, eat.fit, Goibibo, Swiggy along with over 180 consumer brands for integrating their existing PWAs (progressive web apps) or mobile-sites to its Switch platform. These partnerships enable businesses of all sizes to build and deploy apps on PhonePe Switch with a unified login and payments experience for users.
In 2019, PhonePe launched tax-saving funds to help customers minimize their tax burden by investing in equity-linked saving schemes. In the same year, PhonePe also became the first payment app to allow customers to make bids for Initial Public Offerings through the UPI platform.
In January 2020, PhonePe became the first digital payment platform in India to launch international travel insurance. PhonePe also launched Liquid Funds in association with Aditya Birla Mutual Fund to provide the combined benefits of a fixed deposit and a mutual fund.
In February, PhonePe launched the chat feature on its app to enable its users to have conversations with each other within the app while requesting money or confirming the receipt of payment.
In May, PhonePe partnered with general insurers Bajaj Allianz and ICICI Lombard to launch two separate coronavirus-specific insurance products for covering hospitalization costs during the COVID-19 pandemic. It also launched Super Funds in the same month to aid long-term wealth creation by helping customers invest in equity, debt, and gold funds of mutual fund companies.
In June, the company launched domestic multi-trip insurance to cover all risks associated with all modes of travel within India at an affordable annual premium.
Awards and recognition
- 2018: recognized by National Payments Corporation of India (NPCI) for driving the largest number of merchant transactions on the UPI network.
- 2018: Best Mobile Payment Product or Service Category at the IAMAI India Digital Awards 2018.
- 2018: Won the UPI Digital Innovation Award from NPCI in 2018.
- 2018: Won the SuperStarUp Asia Award in 2018.
- 2018: Awarded at the India Advertising Awards 2018 in the Telecom and Technology category.
- 2019: Won the ‘Best Mobile Payment Product or Service’ at the 9th India Digital Awards 2019 organised by IAMAI.
- 2019: ‘Best Digital Wallet’ Initiative at the Indian Retail and eRetail Awards 2019.
- 2019: Awarded the ‘Best Digital Wallet’ initiative at the 8th Annual Indian Retail & eRetail Awards 2019 organised by Zee Business and The Economic Times.
On 14 January 2017, ICICI bank blocked PhonePe transactions, citing the reasons that it did not meet the NPCI guidelines. Initially, on 19 January 2017, NPCI instructed ICICI to allow UPI transactions via PhonePe. During this period, Airtel too blocked PhonePe transactions on its platforms. A day later, on 20 January 2017, NPCI renounced the previous instructions citing the reason that PhonePe indeed violated the UPI norms.
After this, PhonePe closed its operations on Flipkart’s website, to align itself with the terms stated in the updated verdict from NPCI. By February, 2017, PhonePe resolved the issues with ICICI.
During COVID-19 pandemic in India PhonePe decided to contribute ₹10 for every single user who pays to the PM CARES fund via their app with a aim to donate ₹100 crore.
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