Ola acquires digital payments startup Qarth: report

Online cab aggregator Ola has acquired Chennai based Qarth, a startup which runs digital payments Android app X-Pay, for an undisclosed amount, reports TechCrunch. Qarth was founded by Abhinav Srivastava and Prerit Srivastava and its core team expects to join Ola Money, according to the report. We’ve written to Ola for more information and will update this if we hear from them.

X-Pay lets users transfer money through IMPS across banks like Andhra Bank, Bank of India, IndusInd, Punjab National Bank among others. It claims to support 26 banks to make payments and 45 banks to receive payments in, and has 10,000 to 50,000 installs. Qarth also offers money transfer to individuals, merchants or enterprises through this service and a bill splitter tab.

Features supported by banks’ SMS banking facility are only available. All user account information is stored in the device and data communication happens directly from the mobile to the bank via SMS. Xpay is not endorsed by any bank or NPCI. In no event shall the provider of this application be liable for any direct, indirect, punitive, incidental, special or consequential damages arising out of or in any way connected with the use of the application.

Ola Money’s non Ola uses: In August 2015, Ola announced that the in-app wallet Ola Money could be used to pay for other companies like Oyo Rooms, Lenskart and Saavn among others across India. In November, it extended this service to merchants, but does not seem live as of now since the app redirects to Ola Money.

Currently, Ola Money facilitates sending money, mobile recharges and bill payments, Mumbai metro card recharge and can be used across Cleartrip, Cafe Coffee Day and TinyOwl. However, the app seems to have more negative ratings than positive with users complaining about failed recharges and fake charges. One user even refers to it as “the best app of the 19th century”!

Zipcash tie up: In March the same year, Ola told MediaNama Ola Money was a closed system payment instrument and that it had tied up with ZipCash for its wallet services. Closed system payment instruments do not permit cash withdrawal or redemption and cannot facilitate payments and settlement for third-party services. The TechCrunch report states that the tie up with Zipcash will stay.

Uber wallet in the making: Last month, we reported that Uber was working on developing a closed wallet service in India, stating that it found the RBI’s diktat on two factor authentication for card payments too cumbersome. In India, Uber rides can be paid for through Paytm wallets, Airtel Money, debit and credit cards, and cash as of now.

Other wallet developments:

– Earlier this month, digital payments startup FreeCharge would allow its users transfer money from their digital wallet to other users, as well as registered merchants. The new ‘Chat and Pay’ feature would be integrated into the existing FreeCharge app.

– Last month, Flipkart was also said to have been testing a pilot digital wallet service named ‘Flipkart Money’, primarily aimed at cutting costs while handling cash refunds, the company confirmed to MediaNama. It can also be used as a payment method.