Mobile Wallets in India: A comparison

Published: November 16, 2016 at 9:45 am

Last Updated on October 1, 2023 at 5:43 pm

Here is a comparison of charges, limits and key features of mobile wallets in India. This is a guest post byPranav Date – the guy singularly responsible for making the monthly returns calculation such as this possible: November 2016: Equity Mutual Fund SIP, Lump sum returns & capture ratios.

The yapping below is mine. Pranav supplied the key data and insights which made this post possible. He does not endorse all my opinions about wallets 🙂

This is a companion post to Comparison: Options Available For Cashless Transaction

Mobile wallets are online accounts that enable a user to transfer cash from one person to another and make purchases (with/without a quick response code).  The Wallet companies earn by taking a cut off the purchase price. For example, Paytm charges merchants 1.99% + service tax on each sale. As of now, there are no charges involved in transferring money from a bank or credit card to wallet because they are betting on us spending it soon enough.

Join over 32,000 readers and get free money management solutions delivered to your inbox! Subscribe to get posts via email!
🔥Enjoy massive discounts on our robo-advisory tool & courses! 🔥

Therefore in order to compete with credit cards that offer reward points, the e-wallet firms offer a cashback. Since the idea of an instant discount is a lot more appealing than credit or reward points, there is an increase in their usage. Once the demonetization ripple settles down, it would be interesting to track

  1. if mobile wallets can overtake credit card usage. According to this report, their growth is significant but cards are still ahead
  2. how long the cash-backs last.
  3. if mobile credit cards (not pre-paid wallets) can make an impact.

Since there is no difference in terms of convenience between credit cards and e-wallets, it would be very interesting to see learn about developments in this space. From a distance, of course – I am a “direct” consumer 🙂

Before we begin the comparison, it is important to recognise that wallets are meant for spending. Wallets are not meant for transferring money to the bank. If you choose a wallet that has more tie-ups and offers more cashback, then you will have to pay a price for transferring money from wallet to your bank, and vice versa.

Also, the comparison is only with regard to the features, not the extent of cash-back offered or merchants they work with.

These wallets are governed by RBI rules. For “basic” users who have registered ID and address proof with the wallet issuer (KYC) can only transact up to 10,000 a month. For KYC compliant customers, this limit is one lakh or less. I think there is not much to differentiate wallets in terms of these limits.

Another common factor is that most (if not all) wallets can be loaded by net banking, credit and debit cards. Might as well use the cards without the wallets if we don’t care about cashback! QR code, Made with QR code, Made with

Wallets meant to make us spend more in search of fringe benefits like cash-back – a fancy word for peanuts thrown to the wallet user by the issuer and merchants to increase sales volume.

On that wonderfully optimistic note, here goes.

Disclosure: I started writing this post as I was reading about the wallets. Mid-way I realised that the key difference among wallets are how much discounts they offer and what they charge for transferring to the bank. The other limits are either mandated by RBI or are not too different to impact our choice. When the money hits our bank depends on whether the wallets use NEFT or IMPS. However, this is not a big deal.


Not only is there a 4%(+service  tax) (update:) 0% charge for transferring from wallet to bank, one can only transfer Rs. 500 per transaction and a max of Rs. 2000 a month.  Paytm has a similar charge before monetization and smartly reduced this to 1% (update 0%).  Read more here.

Citrus Wallet

This has no charge to transfer to banks but has a limit of Rs. 3000 a month. Merchant refunds up to Rs. 25,000 are supported. See rules here.


There is no charge for transferring to the bank but there is a limit of Rs. 2500. Very uninformative website – thumbs down.


Probably one of the few wallet issuers likely to survive for next few years? They smartly reduced the wallet to transfer fee from 4% to 1% for all (buyers and merchants) immediately after demonetization and yesterday, made it 0% for KYC merchants* (and users)! On Nov. 9th they issued a two-page ad in the Hindu (and perhaps other dailies?) thanking the PM for the move – must have cost them anywhere between 20-25 Lakhs that day alone.

* Up to Dec 31st and this does not apply to merchants who gives ~2% of profits to Paytm. They can hike it back up to 4% once the drama dies down.

If you asked a small shop owner to accept Paytm money, please make them aware of these developments and implications. Hope they do not have to pay because we prefer “cashless”.

Although a user has to shell out 1%, they can transfer up to 25000 to the bank. This is a good deal for sellers instead of registering with them shelling out 2% to Paytm.

A simple glance at their site website is enough to recognise that they have one of the highest number of merchant tie-ups and attractive cash-backs (for now).


No charges for transfer to the bank. Max of Rs. 5000 in a single transaction and Rs. 25,000 a month.  Freecharge offers you a virtual MasterCard (pre-paid). ICICI Pockets also has one from Visa.

There are a few more (pre-paid) wallets, but at this point I am bored. Except for the transfer-to -bank fees; tie-ups they have, cash-back they offer, there is not much to differentiate among these.

Unified Payment Interface

I think the Unified Payment Interface is a better option (cheaper; faster and less restrictive) for those who do not think much about the discounts and like using mobiles for transacting.  Makes me wonder if the govt should have pushed the UPI harder, established it and then went ahead with the demonetization. Just an ignorant thought.

Virtual Credit Cards?

Correct me if I am wrong, but I think we do not have virtual credit cards like Samsun Pay in India. All we have is pre-paid cards tied with credit card companies. It would be interesting to see how they fare.

Personally, I like the idea of a virtual credit card because it offers me credit instead of a pre-paid wallet where the carrot is only cashback.

Parting thoughts

Wallets are meant for spending – (to be used) by those who can control urges.  However, just like a diversified portfolio, other forms of payment like NEFT, credit card and good old cash are equally important and relying too much on mobile is not a great idea.

I find it amusing that to get a cashback, I need a smartphone and an internet connection. Unless I have other uses for these  (yes , yes most people do), I am paying more than I think I am. As long as I have desktop payment gateways, NEFT, debit cards, credit cards and of course, cash, I don’t see any need for wallets or the UPI.

Over-reliance on any one technology, especially like a smartphone is always dangerous. We need to be diversified. Thank god for the RBI limits!

No one ever got rich by using coupons or focussing on cashback or reward points. They are fringe benefits. I would like to remind myself about that often.

Check out reviews for You can be rich too


If you have not purchased it, you can do via Please consider writing a review either at

Do share this article with your friends using the buttons below.

🔥Enjoy massive discounts on our courses, robo-advisory tool and exclusive investor circle! 🔥& join our community of 5000+ users!
Use our Robo-advisory Tool for a start-to-finish financial plan! More than 1,000 investors and advisors use this!
New Tool! => Track your mutual funds and stock investments with this Google Sheet!
We also publish monthly equity mutual funds, debt and hybrid mutual funds, index funds and ETF screeners and momentum, low-volatility stock screeners.
Follow Freefincal on Google News
Follow Freefincal on Google News
Subscribe to the freefincal Youtube Channel. Subscribe button courtesy: Vecteezy.
Subscribe to the freefincal Youtube Channel.
Follow freefincal on WhatsApp Channel
Follow freefincal on WhatsApp
Podcast: Let's Get RICH With PATTU! Every single Indian CAN grow their wealth! 
Listen to the Lets Get Rich with Pattu Podcast
Listen to the Let's Get Rich with Pattu Podcast
You can watch podcast episodes on the OfSpin Media Friends YouTube Channel.
Lets Get RICH With PATTU podcast on YouTube
Let's Get RICH With PATTU podcast on YouTube.
🔥Now Watch Let's Get Rich With Pattu தமிழில் (in Tamil)! 🔥
  • Do you have a comment about the above article? Reach out to us on Twitter: @freefincal or @pattufreefincal
  • Have a question? Subscribe to our newsletter using the form below.
  • Hit 'reply' to any email from us! We do not offer personalized investment advice. We can write a detailed article without mentioning your name if you have a generic question.

Join over 32,000 readers and get free money management solutions delivered to your inbox! Subscribe to get posts via email!

About The Author

Pattabiraman editor freefincalDr M. Pattabiraman(PhD) is the founder, managing editor and primary author of freefincal. He is an associate professor at the Indian Institute of Technology, Madras. He has over ten years of experience publishing news analysis, research and financial product development. Connect with him via Twitter(X), Linkedin, or YouTube. Pattabiraman has co-authored three print books: (1) You can be rich too with goal-based investing (CNBC TV18) for DIY investors. (2) Gamechanger for young earners. (3) Chinchu Gets a Superpower! for kids. He has also written seven other free e-books on various money management topics. He is a patron and co-founder of “Fee-only India,” an organisation promoting unbiased, commission-free investment advice.
Our flagship course! Learn to manage your portfolio like a pro to achieve your goals regardless of market conditions! More than 3,000 investors and advisors are part of our exclusive community! Get clarity on how to plan for your goals and achieve the necessary corpus no matter the market condition is!! Watch the first lecture for free!  One-time payment! No recurring fees! Life-long access to videos! Reduce fear, uncertainty and doubt while investing! Learn how to plan for your goals before and after retirement with confidence.
Our new course!  Increase your income by getting people to pay for your skills! More than 700 salaried employees, entrepreneurs and financial advisors are part of our exclusive community! Learn how to get people to pay for your skills! Whether you are a professional or small business owner who wants more clients via online visibility or a salaried person wanting a side income or passive income, we will show you how to achieve this by showcasing your skills and building a community that trusts and pays you! (watch 1st lecture for free). One-time payment! No recurring fees! Life-long access to videos!   
Our new book for kids: “Chinchu Gets a Superpower!” is now available!
Both boy and girl version covers of Chinchu gets a superpower
Both the boy and girl-version covers of "Chinchu Gets a superpower".
Most investor problems can be traced to a lack of informed decision-making. We made bad decisions and money mistakes when we started earning and spent years undoing these mistakes. Why should our children go through the same pain? What is this book about? As parents, what would it be if we had to groom one ability in our children that is key not only to money management and investing but to any aspect of life? My answer: Sound Decision Making. So, in this book, we meet Chinchu, who is about to turn 10. What he wants for his birthday and how his parents plan for it, as well as teaching him several key ideas of decision-making and money management, is the narrative. What readers say!
Feedback from a young reader after reading Chinchu gets a Superpower (small version)
Feedback from a young reader after reading Chinchu gets a Superpower!
Must-read book even for adults! This is something that every parent should teach their kids right from their young age. The importance of money management and decision making based on their wants and needs. Very nicely written in simple terms. - Arun.
Buy the book: Chinchu gets a superpower for your child!
How to profit from content writing: Our new ebook is for those interested in getting side income via content writing. It is available at a 50% discount for Rs. 500 only!
Do you want to check if the market is overvalued or undervalued? Use our market valuation tool (it will work with any index!), or get the Tactical Buy/Sell timing tool!
We publish monthly mutual fund screeners and momentum, low-volatility stock screeners.
About freefincal & its content policy. Freefincal is a News Media Organization dedicated to providing original analysis, reports, reviews and insights on mutual funds, stocks, investing, retirement and personal finance developments. We do so without conflict of interest and bias. Follow us on Google News. Freefincal serves more than three million readers a year (5 million page views) with articles based only on factual information and detailed analysis by its authors. All statements made will be verified with credible and knowledgeable sources before publication. Freefincal does not publish paid articles, promotions, PR, satire or opinions without data. All opinions will be inferences backed by verifiable, reproducible evidence/data. Contact information: letters {at} freefincal {dot} com (sponsored posts or paid collaborations will not be entertained)
Connect with us on social media
Our publications

You Can Be Rich Too with Goal-Based Investing

You can be rich too with goal based investingPublished by CNBC TV18, this book is meant to help you ask the right questions and seek the correct answers, and since it comes with nine online calculators, you can also create custom solutions for your lifestyle! Get it now.
Gamechanger: Forget Startups, Join Corporate & Still Live the Rich Life You Want Gamechanger: Forget Start-ups, Join Corporate and Still Live the Rich Life you wantThis book is meant for young earners to get their basics right from day one! It will also help you travel to exotic places at a low cost! Get it or gift it to a young earner.

Your Ultimate Guide to Travel

Travel-Training-Kit-Cover-new This is an in-depth dive into vacation planning, finding cheap flights, budget accommodation, what to do when travelling, and how travelling slowly is better financially and psychologically, with links to the web pages and hand-holding at every step. Get the pdf for Rs 300 (instant download)