Paytm brings messaging features to India’s top digital wallet app

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Paytm, India’s top digital wallet and payment service, has introduced a chat feature to amp up its appeal among an increasingly competitive market.

The new ‘Inbox’ feature, which was first outed in August, is initially available on Android, which accounts for the bulk of Paytm’s claimed 200 million users, and not iOS. It allows users to share messages and photos like other chat apps, but it also includes a peer-to-peer money transfer feature and access games, another vertical that Paytm has expanded into.

Paytm, which is backed by Alibaba and SoftBank among others, is steeling its product with social features to give it an advantage against messaging apps in India which are increasingly encroaching on its territory by introducing payment features of their own.

Hike, which is backed by Tencent, added a mobile wallet feature this year, WhatsApp — which counts India as its largest market worldwide — is set to introduce business payments in India, while WeChat, China’s top app, has long tried to gain traction with its app which — you guessed it — includes payment and wallet features, too.

“We have realized that besides making payments, our users and merchants also like to communicate with each other. There is a need of social messaging, commerce and payments seamlessly blending into one another,” Paytm senior VP Deepak Abbot said in a statement.

In a cheeky nod to WhatsApp, Paytm stressed that Inbox launches with the option to recall messages from the word go. That’s a feature that Facebook-owned WhatsApp finally implemented last week but it will take some time to roll out to its userbase of over one billion.