Online travel agency goibibo, which is part of South African digital media firm Naspers, has introduced a closed wallet called goCash wherein the user can opt for booking through the digital wallet. This comes in addition to conventional payment options such as credit card and net banking.
While making a cancellation on goibibo, the user can get opt for refund to goCash, instead of refund to his/her debit/credit card. If chosen, this goCash amount is credited into his/her goibibo account instantly and allows the user to then book any ticket on goibibo.com. While booking, if the user is logged in and has goCash in his account, goibibo will deduct the booking amount from goCash. The user needs to pay only the difference, if any, like any other digital wallet.
In the online travel industry, the problem that the customer faces most often is of delayed refunds of amount which is typically sizeable. On an average, goibibo claims it takes less than 24 hours in getting refunds to the respective bank (credit or debit card account). After that, the banks take anywhere between two and five business days to credit the money back to the customer's account.
Moreover, in the case of rewards/points redemption, banks can take as many as 15 business days to credit the same back into customer account.
"This is most frustrating for travellers, especially for frequent travellers, sometimes money in their credit card remains blocked for a significant amount of time. We were looking for a solution to this problem with a discerning eye and endeavour to solve the same for the customer as seamlessly as possible," goibibo said in a post on its site. It added that its research shows that on an average two out of every three people book again within 10 days of cancellation.
Last November, Indian Railway Catering and Tourism Corporation (IRCTC), a subsidiary of the Indian Railways that handles the catering, tourism and online ticketing operations, launched its own eWallet for the IRCTC site. As part of the scheme, users can deposit money in advance with IRCTC, which can then be used for making payments (along with other payment options available) on the site at the time of booking tickets.
(Edited by Joby Puthuparampil Johnson)