Review of Online Prepaid Mobile Recharge Services in India

In Mobility & Consumer Tech by Guest Author20 Comments

This is a candid user feedback on the prepaid mobile recharge web services in India. I tried 3 websites and got frustrated before writing this post. Here are some suggestions for Mobikwik, RechargeItNow etc.

  1. Do not ask me for operator and circle details. Get it from my mobile no.
  2. By default take me to details page of my home state. Track my IP address to get my home state. A lot of travel sites are doing this very well.
  3. Do not ask me to register. You have my mobile no. and you can always send me a validation code through SMS as a password. Even travel sites give an “i am in a hurry” option for one time users. You should provide me some value add on to register.
  4. Keep all the details and information of every recharge available. You must realise that people in India normally use internet for information and research. Mobile recharge is a standard product like Railway tickets and stock trading so the more info you give the better community you will be able to develop around it. You need to develop a value differentiator and the user must be able to notice it.
  5. And also i don’t think it is good to charge anything extra above the MRP when you are already earning good commission. In fact, how about discounts as a differentiator?

Of course not to mention that if telecom operators start maintaining their sites for proper recharge facility then users would never have to look anywhere else. Also the telecom operators would be saving a lot in the commission they pay to resellers even after discounting the payment gateway commission.

I have tried Vodafone, Airtel, Reliance and Idea’s website for Online prepaid recharge and must admit, only Idea lived upto my expectations. Idea has tied up with Billdesk.com for billing.

Airtel only allows Credit Card payments that too through Mchek and the Interface is the same as the one they provide on Mobile. The interface is too small (visually) for web (that too is facing some problem and is down for now).

Reliance provides link to some outdated pages of some banks. They still refer Axis Bank as UTI Bank. My personal experience says Reliance ADAG is the lamest company in terms of web technology whether it is Reliance Money or Reliance Communication.

Also the telecom operators should tie up with all banks and allow debit card payments. The no. of internet using prepaid customers who own a debit card is really huge, almost all the college students in India and by giving even a 1% discount to such audience one can easily attract a huge user base as these users are very value conscious.

What’s your opinion?

[Naman is a startup enthusiast and has worked with couple of Indian startups as Product Manager. He writes at The Inspire Blog]

Comments

  1. bipin

    Hi Naman,

    Good review. You seem to have covered the points well. Let me attempt to give answers to some issues you have raised.

    1) First and foremost, no one pays retailers ‘fat’ commissions. :) The commission charged by payment gateway in most cases is higher than given by a mobile operator. So, there you go about transaction fees and so on. Even on Airtel/Vodafone/etc etc site , someone is making money from the payment commission. No wonder, they are not dying to keep their sites up 24×7.

    Besides, if you value attributes like convenience, reliability , comfort and ,most importantly, superior customer service for a need as basic as online recharge, you should realize all these come at a tangible cost. Compared to 30 bucks for an online multiplex movie ticket, this is dirt cheap.

    Indeed, given points above, just imagine how those who dont charge TDR will make any money. And would you be comfortable with it?

    2) Mobile Number Portability will be up soon. I am sure you dont want us to refer to a 400 million number database to discover which network your number is on. Having said that, Mobikwik will have this feature and your customized search results up in a week. Till MNP takes over.

    3) ‘To Register or Not to Register’ is the question. We say register because if you hit a snag, you have some data point ( transaction id/payment id/mobikwik balance) to refer to. Plus, if u register once, next time it becomes a cakewalk ( single click recharge at http://www.mobikwik.com).

    4)Mobikwik is working hard to be the “GO TO” place for all prepaid related information , including prepaid plans, offers and recharge top-ups. We have covered all the major metros and states, and much more on its way in coming weeks. Stay tuned in.

  2. Balaji Ambiga

    Hi Naman,
    Its a great peice of work to give balanced review for the general prepaid users in india. Please include http://www.ezrecharge.in in your review to have much more balanced view.

    Point #1: Available in http://www.ezrecharge.in
    Point #2: Available (Partially)
    Point #3: Available in http://www.ezrecharge.in
    Point #4: Available in ezrecharge.in
    Point #5: We are working towards ZERO CHARGES.

    To addup another point in your review is,
    1. Some Recharge sites wants user to deposit money in cash wallets for future recharges. I dont know how it will work & why anybody would like to deposit the money in advance for prepaid recharge.

    1. Somnath

      Balaji,
      Went through your site and liked it. Would like to discuss white labelling if u r interested – how do i reach you?

      Regards
      Som

    2. priyanka

      I am not sure exactly how many people would do that,
      but if I had a choice..i would.
      am sure many of careful planners or small time savers ..housewives/ family budgeters would do that.

  3. prasad

    Good article.. balanced review which gives details on all the telecomm services..

  4. Ishwar

    Thanks for the feedback on the mChek payment system. It is live and running right now.

    Wanted to share a link to our online prepaid recharge page, which is designed for the online user. You can currently recharge Airtel, Tata Indicom, Loop Mobile, BSNL, Virgin & Vodafone.

    Would be great if you could share your feedback on this page too

    http://www.mchek.com/prepaid

  5. Benji

    I agree, telecom co’s havent figured out online bill payments at all.. Most Tel Co’s have a host of different tariff’s with different benefits like free calls, sms, cheaper rates, etc on particular denomination recharges eg. 101, 201 full talk time, etc
    However, you can get the recharge done only through a dealer.. you cant do it through the website !
    Hmm, Is there a reason for this ? ..or are they just plain stupid:P

  6. Rohan

    Hello,

    For Indian mobile recharge you must visit http://www.rechargeguru.com if you are be regular user of recharge guru you will get Rs.10 easy recharge for free. GSM, CDMA, DTH easy recharge are available. Best part they support paypal.com

    So come be a part of rechargeguru.com

    Regards
    Rohan.

  7. meghanaraj

    From my point of view i can say vodafone is giving best service on online recharge
    we can now buy a Vodafone Prepaid mobile recharge. And that too, in a few easy steps.

  8. ezRecharge Support

    ezRecharge.in is an Online Prepaid Mobile Recharge service which caters needs of Indian Prepaid Mobile Users.

    We support all top service providers like Virgin,Tata Docomo,Airtel,Vodafone,Aircel,Reliance,MTS,Uninor,TataSKY
    and we are adding up more.

    It is simple website designed for the customer convenience, which is more of online retail store to recharge your prepaid mobiles.

    No Signup is required and No Amount Restriction
    We honour your privacy. So we dont expose you to any advertisement agencies(both online / offline)

    We expect our customers to use our services as and when required. So we dont ask any deposits to our customers.

    Uniqueness of this portal is, unlike our competitors, we dont choose the tariff for our customers. We help the customer to choose their own tariff. So, no amount restriction as long as it is valid recharge amount.Minimum Amount to recharge is as low as Rs.25/- So, you can recharge your booster packs/ratecutters/jaadu packs.

    So, as of now, ezRecharge.in is the only portal helps their customers to migrate to ’’One Second Billing’’

    Visit us @ http://www.ezrecharge.in/

  9. Rajesh Kumar

    Sir I am a NRE i want start bigness pl send all ditels .

  10. Embee Mobile

    We have a service that allows you to recharge your mobile in India, available on Facebook.

    Three easy steps:
    1. Install the application (http://apps.facebook.com/mobilewallet)
    Register your mobile number and mobile operator.
    2. Take a few offers, surveys and more
    3. Once you get enough points, recharge your mobile, all for free!

  11. Mobile Mania

    Hi Naman,
    Good review of the mobile recharge sites. The points you have raised is the same issues that each and every customers have.
    The reply by bipin of Mobikwik is also quite acceptable. especially the rates charged by payment gateways and the commission by the mobile operators. for e.g CCAvenue charges 4% net banking charges while mobile operators give commission of only upto 3%.
    I’m wondering is there any other options to make a online mobile recharge site profitable yet don’t charge extra to it’s customers?

    Please share your views with respect to the reply by bipin.

  12. Helo

    Hi,
    Could any1 xplain how does the operator know when and how much to recharge for a particular customer…say when i recharge for 100rs from rechargeitnow.com and the gateway payment gives the confirmation, then how does the whole system work?

    It would be gr8 if some1 could xplain me dis, need to complete my proj work :)

    thanks in advance :D

  13. Edward Franklin

    We really need a service that can be used to recharge phones in Pakistan as well. Common card like Visa, Master etc. should be accepted. It would be a lot more convenient.

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