PayU Money Mobile Payments System to Fold in India

January 9, 2018         By: Steven Anderson

The mobile payment market is fairly well flush with competitive firms right now, and it’s actually a surprise that more of them haven’t shut down by now in response to the rapidly-tightening market. One firm, however, has bowed out, and that’s PayU India, who shut down its PayU Money mobile wallet system. It’s not getting out of the game altogether, however, and has a plan to carry on in a different way.

PayU’s history in mobile payments started to get particularly big back in 2016, when it bought Citrus Pay and effectively boasted two wallet systems in play at once. That’s not exactly good news for any company—why own a competing brand to cannibalize your own market—but considering recent changes from the Reserve Bank of India, it’s only getting worse. With a new, larger net worth required for companies offering prepaid payment instruments and a new, more stringent Know Your Customer set of rules in place, it didn’t exactly make for a great time to be in play.

Instead, PayU will be focusing on its LazyPay credit system, which effectively provides a set of consumer loans via mobile that allows for customers to pay for goods purchased on credit. Those with money in PayU Money will be required to transfer that cash to bank accounts.

This seems like a reasonably good plan, really; why stick around in an increasingly crowded market—mobile payments have been going like a house afire in India ever since the demonetization kicked in, and a little before that too—when you can instead pursue a comparatively lightly traveled consumer market? It’s not immediately clear just how much business LazyPay can land in India, but operations like that have done well in the United States for decades. Ever since the layaway and rent-to-own concepts rolled out, the notion of a simpler way to get the things you want has been welcome.

So while the Indian mobile payments market will be down a player in the short term, the Indian consumer goods market will be up one. That’s not bad news all around, and may give PayU a chance to succeed where it might otherwise have failed.