Paytm launches "Inbox" in-app messaging service to take on WhatsApp
At a time when WhatsApp is about to debut "in-chat payments feature" to take on Paytm in India, the country's largest digital wallet app has launched a messaging feature, as a direct competition to Facebook-owned messenger. Paytm has rolled out "Inbox" to enable its 230 million users to send messages, share media and locations, and also make payments from the app itself. Read more!
Paytm Inbox, similar to WhatsApp in many ways
With Paytm's end-to-end encrypted Inbox platform users can chat with family and friends in one-on-one conversations or create groups. They can send or request money and share images, videos, live locations, or capture photos/videos using the built-in camera without having to leave the app. Its "Delete for All" option enables users to recall their messages, a feature WhatsApp launched only two days ago.
One step towards meeting consumer need: Paytm SVP
Paytm Senior Vice-President, Deepak Abbot, said: "We have realized that besides making payments, our users and merchants also like to communicate with each other." Paytm's Inbox messaging service is currently available for Android users and would be soon rolled out to iOS users too.
How is Paytm Inbox different from WhatsApp?
While Paytm Inbox has many features that are already offered by WhatsApp, there are a few ones that make it different from WhatsApp. Unlike WhatsApp, Paytm offers the private (incognito) conversation, which would be similar to Facebook Messenger's "Secret Conversations" feature. Also, features like "Notifications" (available Paytm cashback/shopping offers), "Orders" (order/transaction updates), and Games (Cricket and trivia games) are available in Inbox.
WhatsApp Pay to roll out next month
Paytm Inbox's launch comes at a time when WhatsApp Pay, the app's payments service, is in the final stage of testing. A source said WhatsApp plans to launch the feature around December, initially for users in India. Since WhatsApp enjoys its world's largest user-base in India, with over 200mn users, it may emerge as Paytm's biggest competitor, once it introduces the payments option.
Paytm improving stickiness of its app
Amid the rising competition in the messaging and digital payments space in India, Paytm's move is aimed at increasing app stickiness. According to Paytm, Inbox not only serves as an in-app messenger but also allows users and merchants to interact with each other and make transactions seamlessly. Inbox's arrival will, however, intensify the competition between messengers and payments apps that are expanding customer offerings.
A lot is happening in digital payments space
Before Paytm, in Jun'17, homegrown messenger Hike launched in-app UPI-based payments feature "Hike Wallet" to allow money transfers and phone bill payments. Earlier, caller-ID and spam detection app Truecaller rolled out Truecaller Pay for peer-to-peer payments, mobile and DTH recharges. Recently, tech-giant Google also introduced Tez, a customized digital wallet for India; users can send and request money via the UPI-based service.