Snapdeal takes on Paytm with FreeCharge's digital wallet

15 Sep, 2015

Online recharge and utility payments portal FreeCharge, which was acquired in April by e-commerce marketplace Snapdeal, has launched a digital wallet in partnership with YES Bank.

Christened FreeCharge Digital Wallet, the new offering would compete with similar facilities offered by Paytm, Mobikwik, PayU and other players.

"Consumer needs are constantly evolving and we feel it is the right time to launch a trusted and feature-rich digital wallet service. At Snapdeal we are building an ecosystem that powers billions of digital commerce transactions. With the launch of the FreeCharge Digital Wallet, we will now play an even more intrinsic role in our customers' lives," said Kunal Bahl, CEO and co-founder, Snapdeal.

The move makes the competition between Snapdeal (run by Jasper Infotech Pvt Ltd) and Paytm (run by One97 Communication Ltd) even more pronounced. The two e-commerce giants have been directly slugging it out for supremacy in India's consumer internet space.

Few years ago, Paytm announced its foray into the e-commerce space, putting itself in direct competition with giants like Amazon, Flipkart and Snapdeal.

While Paytm was among the first domestic internet companies to offer digital bill and utility payment services, Snapdeal caught up through its $450 million (Rs 2,900 crore) acquisition in April of Freecharge.

Interestingly, Alibaba's top shareholder is Japanese internet conglomerate SoftBank, which is also the lead investor in Snapdeal. And Alibaba's financial arm Ant Financial, which runs the Alipay online payment platform, is an investor in Paytm's parent.

SoftBank alone pumped nearly $657 million in the online marketplace last year, becoming the largest investor in Snapdeal.

In August, Snapdeal raised $500 million (Rs 3,250 crore) in fresh funding led by iPhone manufacturer Foxconn, Alibaba and SoftBank.

Paytm recently crossed the 100 million mark for its mobile wallet recently. MobiKwik has over 25 million users on the wallet side.