Amazon’s Digital Wallet Play In India Closer To Reality

Amazon’s payments side might soon get a little bigger — at least for its India business.

A report from The Times of India, citing sources said to be close to the matter, indicates that Amazon’s India unit has filed an application for a semi-closed digital wallet license with the Royal Bank of India. The application for the license is anticipated to be reviewed next month.

The sources also said that Amazon’s plans involve opening up its digital wallet for third-party platforms — hence the reason for the semi-closed wallet. That option enables users to buy products and services for merchants that have deals with that specific payments company.

While Amazon did not specifically comment on the details of what the sources reported, it did provide the following statement that offers a bit of a hint that there’s a demand for a digital wallet option in India.

“A trusted, easy, convenient and friction-free payment experience has always been one of Amazon’s key pillars, globally and in India. We are driven by customer demands and seek every opportunity to do what it takes so that our customers benefit. We cannot comment specifically on what we may or may not do,” an Amazon spokesman said in an email to The Times of India.

It also wouldn’t be out of the ordinary for Amazon to want a piece of the digital payments pie in India, a region that’s increasingly gaining attention in the online and mobile commerce sector as more and more consumers turn to their devices for more tasks. The region already has Flipkart with its own Flipkart Money digital wallet, the Alibaba-backed Paytm wallet and Snapdeal’s Freecharge. And that’s just a few of the biggest players that have gained traction.

Just last month, Amazon announced its plans to acquire online payment service provider EMVANTAGE Payments, an Indian payments service provider, for an undisclosed amount.

What this acquisition gives Amazon is a greater presence in one of its emerging international markets, while giving it the chance to build up its payments solutions for customers in India who are looking to buy online. And, as shown in the U.S. market, Amazon has a great ability to gain consumer trust using its payment methods (such as Amazon 1-Click).



The pressure on banks to modernize their payments capabilities to support initiatives such as ISO 20022 and instant/real time payments has been exacerbated by the emergence of COVID-19 and the compelling need to quickly scale operations due to the rapid growth of contactless payments, and subsequent increase in digitization. Given this new normal, the need for agility and optimization across the payments processing value chain is imperative.