MasterCard and Citibank India have launched what they claim is the first global digital wallet service in India.
Citi MasterPass, already available in 24 other countries, will store Indian customer credit card information for use with over 250,000 online retailers, the two companies said in a joint release.
India looks likely to be a major market for digital wallets. A 2014 MasterCard online survey found that mobile purchases grew by over 100% in India, the world's second-largest country. MasterCard and Citi also found a 76% increase in e-commerce activity the last two years, which they project to exceed $17.2 billion in transactions by the end of 2015. Forty-one percent of Citibank card transactions within the country occur online, the companies said.
"As Indian consumers embrace a more digital lifestyle, Citi MasterPass will enable efficient, secure and quick checkout experiences for shoppers," Vikas Varma, MasterCard's executive director for South Asia, said in the release. "Beyond a platform that hosts digital wallets, Citi MasterPass will also provide the technology for merchants to offer new and innovative services, and unique features for shoppers."
Though overall still considered a developing country, India's south has had a strong tech sector and infrastructure to support it. According to Citi and MasterCard, $6 billion has been invested in Indian Internet infrastructure, a large sum in a country where the gross domestic product per capita was $1,630 last year. A Citi research report published March 2015 found that 92% of India's 260 million Internet users connect wirelessly, and 20% have mobile broadband services. Like other developing countries with large rural populations, new Indian Internet users are skipping the desktop and going straight to mobile.