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A cashless economy is a popular term these days. There has been a lot of discussions and brainstorming on this issue. Digital payment is the latest innovation in the field of Information and Technology. Online payment through the wallet is a global trend and Nepal cannot remain unaffected by it. Although Nepal is still miles behind in creating a cashless society, there has been an effort made by the government and private sector in achieving this foot. Now, there are many online digital payments or mobile wallet platforms/gateways in Nepal. In this post, we will provide the top online digital payments provider and mobile wallet platforms available in Nepal.
In Nepal, the concept of digital payment service providers started with the introduction of a credit card by Nabil Bank in 1990. Kumari Bank was the initiator of online banking in Nepal. Although it took some time for such services to be part of people’s lives, digital payment services are now popular among Nepali users.
The concept of digital/mobile wallets started in 2009 after the launch of eSewa by F1 Soft International. The introduction of eSewa revolutionized the concept of digital payment in Nepal. Since then Nepal has seen different digital payment service providers. Since eSewa, other payment systems like Khalti, IME Pay, QPay, iPay, etc. have launched their services.
Online digital payment service has eased the life of people as people don’t have to queue up for hours to pay bills. You are just one tap away from recharging your mobile balance and buying a ticket for your favorite movie. You can get different offers for using their services including cashback when you use these apps for any purchase.
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In this blog, I am going to discuss the top five most popular online/digital wallets of Nepal. The list has been prepared based on the popularity of their use as well as the services they offer. However, mobile wallets may have varied use based on the necessity of the users.
iPay is a service from muncha.com merchandise dealing with online shopping in Nepal. Muncha.com works as an intermediary between shoppers and merchants for online shopping. You can get the app for both Android and iOS.
You can simply open the account for the app and load the account. However, for now, you can load accounts from the web only. This fund can be used for payment to the merchants that are signed by day. It has maintained two layers of security for a transaction where you are required to input the transaction password.
Although it was launched a long time back, it has not been able to lure more users to use it. The reason for this is that it has only five partner banks and has a limitation when it comes to mobile top-ups, airline ticketing, utility payment, and other services.
The app requires your email id for signup and you need to enter your email id every time you log in. You can download the app from either the Play Store or iOS store.
Prabhupay is also one of the latest digital wallet payment providers, owned by Prabhu Group. Having a bank of its own, PrabhuPay allows us to make fund transfers to wallets from 20 different banks. The best part is you can also move the money from any of the platforms in the PrabhuPay Ecosystem to another.
The Topups for mobile, bill payments of electricity, water, internet, travel/movie ticket, and more can be done from the PrabhuPay wallet. PrabhuPay says they have got multiple layers of security to make the payment securely safe.
You can add several kinds of debit/credit cards in the app, from a simple registration in the app. You can also earn 1 bonus point after payment of Rs 100 on bill payment.
Since there are many digital payment providers operating already in the market, the survival of the fittest theory will come into play very soon.
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IME is a popular remittance service provider in the country. They are now offering their users a better one in all digital wallets. IME Pay is one of those emerging digital payment service providers in Nepal that has been popular in recent years.
It offers a wide range of payment gateway for its users. The services available from this app include airline ticketing, bus ticketing, utility payment, remittance, ISB payment, Telephone bill payment, etc.
The digital wallet is also giving you tickets for the Chandragiri Hills Cable car. You can enjoy your digital life that is hassle-free with no queue and no penalty for delay. You can simply do your work sitting at home or even when you are on the go.
The users can use IME Pay for remittance service where the sender and receiver can use this wallet to send and receive money. There is very little option for loading the wallet using online banking. Once they get more banks on board with them this app has the potential to grow further.
If you are planning to use this digital wallet as an agent of IME Pay, you can download the IME Pay agent app. This will be helpful for agents as they can utilize all the facilities from their mobile devices. The agent app is also available in the Android app store for free download.
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Although Khalti was launched only in 2017, it has come up with a popular lineup of services to make it the second most popular digital payment service provider in Nepal. Initially, it was available only for Android and web platforms. Now you can get this wallet for iOS devices as well.
It has been providing services for DTH payment, ISP payment along other popular merchant payments. You can get tickets for movies in almost all popular movie hall chains. It has extended its services to pay the water bill in places outside Kathmandu as well.
The reason for its growing popularity has been the added services in almost every field possible. In some cases of airline ticketing, you can get more bonuses than its competitors.
Not only that if you are purchasing Kaspersky anti-virus, but there is also a discount in excess of 25%. It is easy to load your Khalti wallet using different bank accounts. The popularity graph for this digital payment provider has gone up massively and it continues to grow in recent times.
Apart from the regular services given by the digital wallet, Khalti has partnered with the OYO hotel chain recently. You can book more than 30 hotels from the OYO chain in Kathmandu and Pokhara. There is a facility to pay for different event tickets via scan. You can enjoy the services of the Khalti wallet by downloading the app from the app store.
The undisputed winner of the digital wallet service providers in Nepal contest goes to eSewa. This is not because they were a pioneer to start the service in Nepal, but the popularity of their app along with the number of users says it all. They are the most trusted and most used digital wallet service in Nepal. They have huge coverage and their services are used by a large number of merchants.
Nepal Rastra Bank, the central bank of Nepal had provided it with a mobile money license for the first time. To be honest, there are no competitors for them except for some promising signs shown by Khalti. Their range of service has grown so big that they can simply not worry about anyone to catch them up so easily. There is a facility for airline ticketing not only for domestic but for international as well.
You can pay your exam fee, tuition fee, water bill, electricity bill, and many other utility payments using eSewa. They have teamed up with popular online shopping merchants to make life easy for their customers. eSewa is the online bank of Nepal. It has easy to use interface in the app, making the life of the users hassle-free. You can load the wallet easily using banks, eSewa dealers, and eSewa directly. eSewa has started its own online shopping store called eSewa Pasal.
You can find different items in this store with a price that is lower than normal. Popularity does not seem to be getting lower. However, with the addition of new services they are getting more users each day.
You can use the remittance service of Western Union from eSewa. They have partnered with this popular remittance service. The quality of service and satisfied customers are the main reason to make the eSewa top the list.
eSewa has recently crossed 20 lakhs subscribers. With widespread promotion and marketing, they are successful in increasing the number of merchant payments to more than 25 thousand in PhonePay.
Apart from the digital wallets mentioned in the list, there are many other digital wallet service providers in Nepal like DigiPay, QPay, Pay Well Nepal, and more. QPay has been popular in recent days with more users downloading as well as using its services. Another payment provider named CellPay has also been launched with the investment of IMS (Samsung distributor). A bunch of new digital payment platforms is also being launched including that from CG as well.
These days mobile wallets are increasing in numbers day by day providing the same kind of services. So, we can say the mobile wallets are mushrooming in Nepal with not-so-differentiations. Due to this, none of them can sustain well in the highly competitive market. So, either merging or doing different will definitely give them a competitive advantage over others.
There is also a role of the government to regulate and encourage such payments. The government can also work for a single payment platform, run by the Nepal Rastra Bank to enable payments from wallet directly without the need to load funds.
NRB had already set a limit on digital payments in Nepal. The payment amount has been increased which is encouraging for the digital payments industry in Nepal.
You can also use mobile apps from different banks that are providing some services similar to these digital wallets.
The recent trend shows the competition among these digital payment players lies in their wide reach, availability in shops (online/offline). So, these mobile wallet providers are increasing their availability in more merchants with the easiest QR code payment option.
In the present context, it has been very convenient to have digital/mobile wallets doing almost all the work that paper money does.
It all started with eSewa, however, today Nepal’s market has some tough competitors who can challenge to thrive and give better services. We can say that in the coming decade Nepal will be much closer to a paperless economy.
Tell us what do you think of the best digital payment service providers in Nepal. Which one do you use, comment below?