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Centrum Direct launches mobile wallet for foreign tourists

Press Trust of India  |  Mumbai 

To offer some reprieve to cash-strapped foreign tourists following the drive and also to help those headed to the country, player Centrum Direct has launched a unique mobile wallet that also offers a physical card under the label of CentrumPay.

The company claims CentrumPay is a first in the country and will be launched next week on the MasterCard platform with being the PIN issuer.

"CentrumPay can be used both as a virtual mobile wallet for any type of payments for online shopping, taxis, payments at hotels, etc using the QR code and also to withdraw at any bank ATMs as per the permissible limits now. While a resident user can load up to Rs 1 lakh a month, a foreigner can load up to Rs 2 lakh," Centrum Direct managing director and chief executive Guruprasad told PTI.

"In short, the CentrumPay is a mobile wallet and physical card rolled into a single payments solution," he said, adding this card combines a wallet that can be downloaded on any smartphone and a physical card linked to the wallet that can be swiped at any merchant PoSes/ATMs which accept MasterCard products.

"This is the first time a wallet is being combined with a physical card, thus allowing the customer to use it for online as well as offline transactions," he said

While the card is not linked to any bank account it can be replenished through debit/credit cards or online banking facility of the customer, he said.

Guruprasad further said while the product was in the making much before the was announced, the did advance the launch following the scrapping of the high value banknotes on November 8 with a view to help ease the pain of stranded tourists.

He said the company, however, "is not pushing the product as not even half of the over 2 lakh ATMs are functional now as also those functional have serpentine queues. But we will formally launch the card next week."

He said Centrum Direct, which is the arm of the city-based leading financial services company Centrum Group, will charge a flat Rs 150 for a card from both foreigners as well as domestic customers. The card can be reloaded umpteen times for a period of five years.

When asked about the impact of the drive on his business, he said, "We are terribly hit. This is a cash-n-carry business. With a withdrawal limit of Rs 24,000 a week, what business you can run?" he asked.

"This comes at the peak of the best tourism season and I wish that the government does something with the stranded tourists as they have done no fault at all. A large majority of the tourists are stranded because like we Indians most of them also carry and not plastic money," he averred.

Stating that many foreigners are tearing away the remaining rupees (as a dealer can exchange only Rs 5000 worth of now), Guruprasad cited the example of a harried Italian at the Goa airport who came to a Centrum counter and tore away nearly Rs 10,000 in utter disgust.

He said foreign tourists who are currently strapped due to the limited circulation of new currency notes, will now have an alternate channel for making payments with the CentrumPay as well as availing of legal tenders for their

(This story has not been edited by Business Standard staff and is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)

First Published: Sun, November 27 2016. 12:48 IST