Amazon India Adds Insurance, Gold To Its Offerings Inc.’s 100 million registered customers in India now have access to more financial services.

In a bid to attract new customers and sell $13 annual subscriptions to Amazon Prime, the paid service that gives users access to extra services, the eCommerce giant has added insurance and gold to its menu, Reuters reported.

It’s the latest effort by the Seattle-based online retailer with a headquarters in Bengaluru, the center of India's high-tech industry, to intensify the competition in the mostly cash-based economy.

Four years ago, Amazon introduced its Amazon Pay digital wallet to increase online payments. Today, it offers a credit card and processes payments for customer bills.

It also helped that high-value currency notes were banned that year and fueled digital payments as Walmart Inc., Google, PhonePe and SoftBank-backed Paytm joined Amazon Pay in the space, Reuters reported.

Mahendra Nerurkar, head of Amazon Pay in India, told the news service that the company’s goal is to boost the number of Amazon Pay users. Today, he said, the company has signed up 4 million merchants.

“Apparently Chinese fashion designers are leaving the back pockets off jeans because no one uses them anymore (for wallets),” Nerurkar told Reuters. “We would love to make that happen in India.”

In July, Amazon partnered with Acko General Insurance, a digital insurance startup in India, to offer auto insurance in India. The deal allowed customers to access the products with Amazon Pay, the unit’s payments arm in India, to offer car and motorcycle insurance on Amazon’s app and mobile website.

“A trusted, easy, convenient and friction-free payment experience has always been one of Amazon's key pillars, globally and in India,” an Amazon spokesperson said at the time. “We are driven by customer demands and seek every opportunity to do what it takes so that our customers benefit.”

The country’s digital payment market is expected to more than double to $135 billion by 2023, according to PwC, the global audit and consulting service and the Associated Chambers of Commerce and Industry of India.

WhatsApp, Facebook’s messenger service, is expected to enter India’s payments market after it worked to meet the country’s data localization standards.  

WhatsApp Pay debuted in India in 2018. It will be available to 400 million users once the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) gives it the green light.

“It’s not going to be easy to win over the Indian FinTech market,” a source told Reuters. “It’s competitive and varied, so it’s going to be a slow process.”





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