Paytm launches Mini App Store, offers access to mobile websites of 300 apps

Paytm launches Mini App Store, offers access to mobile websites of 300 apps
Photo Credit: 123RF.com
5 Oct, 2020

One97 Communications, which owns fintech platform Paytm, has rolled out Paytm Mini App Store, a platform that offers users access to over 300 mobile websites of third-party Android apps.

To be sure, the “mini apps” on the Paytm store are not tailor-made for the fintech platform -- they are mobile browser versions of apps that Paytm has partnered with.

In July, the company reportedly launched Paytm Mini Programs to “help businesses showcase their products and services”. The platform, media reports said, allowed mobile websites to integrate with Paytm’s Mini Programs platform. 

In a statement, Paytm said that app-based service providers such as Ola, Park+, Rapido, Netmeds, 1MG, Domino's Pizza, FreshMenu and NoBroker are already listed on the Paytm Mini App Store. 

The Paytm Mini App Store takes user permission to access data from the third-party app they want to use to autofill necessary information. For example, if a user wants to access a food delivery mini app, the Paytm store will seek permission to autofill information, such as phone number and delivery address, by accessing the food delivery app installed on the user’s phone. 

If the app is not installed on the user’s device, Paytm opens a web version of the app and asks for permission to autofill information on their Paytm profile.

The platform, Paytm founder Vijay Shekhar Sharma said, looks to "empower our young Indian developers to leverage our reach and payments to build new innovative services. For Paytm users, it will be a seamless experience that doesn't require any separate download and enables them to use their preferred payment option.” 

Paytm does not charge companies to list their platforms on its store. While developers can accept payments from users through Paytm Wallet, Paytm Payments Bank and UPI for free, they will incur a 2% charge for other options, such as credit card payment, the statement added. It also offers developers a dashboard for analytics, payments collection and other marketing tools to engage with users.

According to the company, the product has been running on beta mode and witnessed over 12 million visits in September.

The development comes weeks after Google pulled down the fintech app from its Android store on September 18 for alleged violation of its gambling policy. The removal was reportedly linked to the app leading users to bet on scratch cards that promised cashback and rewards during the Indian Premier League season. The app was reinstated on Google Play the same day, after Paytm “temporarily” removed the cashback component.

The search engine giant also sent notices to online food delivery platforms Zomato and Swiggy on Thursday, stating that their in-app gamification features violate policies of its Android app store. Both companies have removed the aforementioned features.

Google said last Monday that apps on its Android store, which offer in-app purchase of digital goods, must only use Google Play’s billing system. The deadline to integrate the system is March 31, 2022, for Indian apps.

As part of the revenue share system, Google will charge a 30% service fee on all transactions made through its billing system. The move is expected to help the firm shore up revenues and prevent apps from directing users to payment links and gateways outside Google Play. 

The move has been met with strong resistance from Indian founders. According to a TechCrunch report, about 150 app-based startups, including Paytm, ShareChat, MakeMyTrip, RazorPay and PolicyBazaar, look to launch an alternative app store. The Indian government is reportedly mulling requests from technology founders to allow the launch of the aforementioned app store.

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