It has been a long time coming. Six years, to be exact, but one of India’s largest and most successful non-bank lenders finally got its hands on the long-awaited wallets licence. In May this year, India’s banking regulator, the Reserve Bank of India, allowed Bajaj Finance Ltd—which has a mammoth loan book of Rs 1,52,000 crore ($20.6 billion)—to operate a prepaid payments instrument (PPI).

With the licence, Bajaj has all the elements needed to launch its omnichannel omnichannel omnichannel A uniform approach to both online and offline sales to provide customers with a seamless shopping experience financial services app, Bajaj Pay. The app is geared to support multiple payment modes, from digital wallets and real-time digital payments to its co-branded credit card and its own payments offering, Bajaj EMI cards. Ideally, a customer would be able to make a purchase and use whichever payment instrument she prefers during checkout, including credit.

Bajaj is expected to launch the payments app by this month. Even though it’s about five years late to the payments party, Bajaj gets to reap a bunch of late-mover advantages sowed by its predecessors.

The ecosystem not only has a thriving, readymade network of merchants, but RBI’s wallet rules have also turned favourable. Unlike payments companies such as Paytm* and PhonePe—which had to painstakingly build their network of over 50 million-plus users—Bajaj’s payment arm already has a neat 48.6 million customers to tap. And thanks to its acquisition of a 12.6% stake stake Economic Times Bajaj Finance to acquire 12.6% in MobiKwik Read more at: https://economictimes.indiatimes.com/small-biz/startups/newsbuzz/bajaj-finance-to-acquire-12-6-in-mobikwik/articleshow/62519417.cms?utm_source=contentofinterest&utm_medium=text&utm_campaign=cppst Read more in and an eventual partnership with digital wallet MobiKwik, Bajaj has millions of customers already familiar with using their EMI cards in tandem with the wallet.

Despite these advantages, Bajaj Finance has no intention of going head to head with other payment apps. The company’s management expressly told analysts that it is not looking at playing in a field where the “big elephants are fighting”. Its plan with payments is not so much user growth and payments dominance as much as customer engagement.

Since 2016, Bajaj has been religiously adding about one to two million new customers every quarter. This is largely due to its most well-known line of business—no-cost credit solutions for consumer durable purchases. It then cross-sells other loan products such as vehicle loans, personal loans, and mortgage loans to these customers. Its cross-sell franchise has about 27 million customers, according to 2021 company reports.

“We have enough customers. We are very clear that sometime in the near future we will be a 100 million customers company given the distribution and product portfolio,” its managing director Rajeev Jain told analysts over a conference call in April, 2021.

AUTHOR

Arundhati Ramanathan

Arundhati is Bengaluru-based. She is interested in how people use money in the digital age and how new economies will take shape based on that interaction. She has spent over 10 years reporting and writing on various subjects. Previous stints were at Mint, Outlook Business and Reuters.

View Full Profile

Available exclusively to subscribers of The Ken India

This story is a part of The Ken India edition. Subscribe. Questions?

MOST POPULAR

Annual Subscription

12-month access to 200+ stories, archive of 800+ stories from our India edition. Plus our premium newsletters, Beyond The First Order and The Nutgraf worth Rs. 99/month or $2/month each for free.

Rs. 2,750

Subscribe
 

Quarterly Subscription

3-month access to 60+ new stories with 3-months worth of archives from our India edition. Plus our premium newsletters, Beyond The First Order and The Nutgraf worth Rs. 99/month or $2/month each for free.

Rs. 1,750

Subscribe
 

Single Story

Instant access to this story for a year along with comment privileges.

Rs. 500

Subscribe
MOST POPULAR

Annual Subscription

12-month access to 150+ stories from Southeast Asia.

$ 120

Subscribe
 

Quarterly Subscription

3-month access to 35+ stories from Southeast Asia.

$ 50

Subscribe
 

Single Story

Instant access to this story for a year along with comment privileges.

$ 20

Subscribe

Questions?

What is The Ken?

The Ken is a subscription-only business journalism website and app that provides coverage across two editions - India and Southeast Asia.

What kind of stories do you write?

We publish sharp, original and reported stories on technology, business and healthcare. Our stories are forward-looking, analytical and directional — supported by data, visualisations and infographics.

We use language and narrative that is accessible to even lay readers. And we optimise for quality over quantity, every single time.

What do I get if I subscribe?

For subscribers of the India edition, we publish a new story every weekday, a premium daily newsletter, Beyond The First Order and a weekly newsletter - The Nutgraf.

For subscribers of the Southeast Asia edition, we publish a new story three days a week and a weekly newsletter, Strait Up.

The annual subscription will get you complete, exclusive access to our archive of previously published stories for your edition, along with access to our subscriber-only mobile apps, our premium comment sections, our newsletter archives and several other gifts and benefits.

Do I need to pay separately for your premium newsletters?

Nope. Paid, premium subscribers of The Ken get our newsletters delivered for free.

Does a subscription to the India edition grant me access to Southeast Asia stories? Or vice-versa?

Afraid not. Each edition is separate with its own subscription plan. The India edition publishes stories focused on India. The Southeast Asia edition is focused on Southeast Asia. We may occasionally cross-publish stories from one edition to the other.

Do you offer an all-access joint subscription for both editions?

Not yet. If you’d like to access both editions, you’ll have to purchase two subscriptions separately - one for India and the other for Southeast Asia.

Do you offer any discounts?

No. We have a zero discounts policy.

Is there a free trial I can opt for?

We don’t offer any trials, but you can sign up for a free account which will give you access to the weekly free story, our archive of free stories and summaries of the paid stories. You can stay on the free account as long as you’d like.

Do you offer refunds?

We allow you to sample our journalism for free before signing up, and after you do, we stand by its quality. But we do not offer refunds.

I am facing some trouble purchasing a subscription. What can I do?

Please write to us at [email protected] detailing the error or queries.