The likes of Flipkart and Amazon have consistently said that the most preferred payment method for those who shop online in India is cash-on-delivery. For Indians, nothing beats the idea of paying for a purchase only when it gets delivered. A large population of Indians don't have credit or debit cards and even though things are changing, a lot of Indian online shoppers still prefer to pay with cash.
Since demonetisation, e-commerce companies in India have been working towards offering alternative methods of payment. Amazon India started offering card-on-delivery to its customers a while ago and Flipkart soon followed. Online marketplaces now let users pay using their mobile wallets, credit and debit card EMIs, UPI, and so much more. These marketplaces also tend to incentivise prepaid orders by offering discounts. Flipkart and Amazon — being the biggest online marketplaces in India — tend to define e-commerce trends for the rest of the market.
The festive season is probably the biggest time of the year for online marketplaces. This is the time when they run their biggest sales of the year and tend to generate a large chunk of revenue, with the latest editions of Flipkart Big Billion Days and Amazon Great Indian Festival nearly here. It's only natural for them to remove as much friction as possible, to enable customers to make high-value purchases on their platform. One of the most ways to do it is to make payments easier.
In the build-up to their biggest sales of the year, both Flipkart and Amazon, are offering various methods of payment to win over customers during their festive season sales. The tagline for Flipkart's Big Billion Days sale this year is, "Ab India Hoga Budget Se Mukt" while Amazon's Great Indian Festival Sale comes with, "Now budget won't limit India's celebration".
Earlier this month, Amazon launched its instant credit facility which offers a credit worth up to ₹60,000 to its customers. Two days later, Flipkart announced its own credit facility on more or less similar terms. Both the marketplaces seem to be targeting customers who do not own or use a credit card for their online purchases. The basic process is simple: a customer needs to sign up online using their Aadhaar number and PAN. After authentication, users can access credit worth up to ₹60,000. This amount can be used to make purchases and can be paid back in easy instalments later on. Both the companies are currently offering their instant credit services on an invitation basis only.
Let's take a look at how you can sign up and use these instant credit services:
Here’s how to sign up for Amazon Pay EMI:
Here’s how to sign up for Flipkart Cardless Credit:
Apart from instant credit, Flipkart also offers a Pay Later service which enables offers a smaller credit limit to customers and can be used to pay for their purchases. At the end of the month, Flipkart sends a bill that can be paid using an online payment method.
For those who don't need extra credit and already have debit or credit cards, Flipkart and Amazon are offering no-cost and discounted EMI options during this festive season. While credit cards have always had EMI options, it's only during these promotional sales that you'll find online marketplaces offering no-cost EMI options on most credit cards. No-cost EMI options are excellent for purchasing electronics and other high-value items online when you don't want to pay the entire amount upfront.
How does no-cost EMI work and how to use it on Flipkart or Amazon?
The concept of no-cost EMI is pretty simple. In fact, it's just a rebranded edition of what was previously known as the zero-cost EMI. After RBI banned merchants from offering zero-cost EMI, a new workaround was invented that does charge customers an interest on EMIs but the merchant simply discounts the interest charged while making a payment, thus the effective cost comes down to the original price.
Flipkart has tied up with HDFC Bank to offer 10 percent instant discount on debit and credit card EMI options. It's worth pointing out that not all debit card users will be able to access EMI options since these are limited to select customers only.
Meanwhile, Amazon has teamed up with State Bank of India to offer 10 percent instant discount on debit and credit card payments along with EMI options. Amazon will also offer no-cost EMI options on all major credit cards and EMIs on select debit cards. In addition, Amazon and Flipkart will also offer discounts and cashback offers on their own digital wallet services Amazon Pay and PhonePe respectively.
How do instant discounts on credit cards work?
These are fairly simple. Just head to the payment page and while you're making a payment, select the preferred card and you'll notice the final amount on the screen will be discounted automatically. When in doubt, always prefer instant discounts on credit cards over cashbacks, unless the latter offers a better deal.
At the end of the day, you can still opt for cash-on-delivery if that's what you prefer.