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Digital payment companies continue to bleed as expenses pile up, profits remain elusive

According to filings with the MCA, all the major payment companies have been incurring massive losses while trying to earn more revenue. The only exception is Paytm, which earned almost the same revenue in FY 2020 as FY 2019 while narrowing its losses.

December 31, 2020 / 02:10 PM IST
PhonePe App (PC- Twitter/@PhonePe_)

PhonePe App (PC- Twitter/@PhonePe_)

Digital payments major PhonePe reported a net loss of Rs 1,772 crore as of March 2020 on revenue of Rs 427 crore, according to regulatory filings sourced from business intelligence platform Tofler.

While the Flipkart-backed payments company has continued making massive losses, it has reduced the extent of losses from last year, when it had reported a net loss of Rs 1,905 crore, by almost 7 percent. Compared to last year it has boosted revenues as well, from Rs 245 crore to Rs 427 crore.

PhonePe has incurred a massive cost while promoting the platform through multiple channels. It has Aamir Khan and Alia Bhatt as its brand ambassadors. The top Bollywood celebrities promoted the app heavily during this year’s Indian Premier League.

While it might have incurred heavy costs in promoting the app, PhonePe has managed to gain significant market share. It reports one of the highest monthly UPI transactions, has sold more than 6 lakh insurance policies and has expanded its footprint across 1.5 crore merchant establishments in 500 cities.

Also read: 'Digital gold' becomes new war zone for PhonePe, Google, Paytm, and Amazon in India

The digital payments business continues to be a cash guzzling one, with players such as Paytm, PhonePe, Amazon Pay and others pumping in millions of dollars every year to capture market share. Another player in this space is Google Pay, which is also promoting itself extensively across media channels.

Besides media spends, the apps also spend on cashbacks, incentives and discounts for its consumers.

Amazon Pay reported total revenue of Rs 1,370 crore for financial year 2020, up 64 percent from Rs 834 crore in financial year 2019. While revenues rose it reported a net loss of Rs 1,868 crore in FY 2020, up 61 percent from Rs 1,160 crore in FY 2019.

Also read: Paytm Money goes deeper into broking, opens IPO investments

Amazon Pay

Amazon Pay operates a mobile wallet as well as a Unified Payments Interface-based settlement system in the country. While its core proposition is a smooth payment experience for Amazon shoppers, it has now expanded into bill payments, person-to-person payments and many others.


Another digital payment giant, Paytm, reported Rs 3,350 crore in total revenue in the last financial year, almost flat compared to its revenue of Rs 3,391 crore in the previous year. While Paytm’s revenue has remained flat, it managed to lower its losses 28 percent last year to Rs 2,833 crore, from Rs 3,959 crore in the previous year.

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Pratik Bhakta
first published: Dec 31, 2020 02:10 pm