Hike becomes first messenger app in India to launch mobile payments

Hike becomes first messenger app in India to launch mobile payments

Instant messaging app Hike on Tuesday announced the launch of its payments platform, Hike Wallet, which will be part of the instant messaging app's latest update.

"Banks would start putting QR (quick response) codes with merchants towards the end of the year, when the unique payment interface (UPI)-ready QR codes will be live, then Hike will directly work with the merchants... that's the direction we want to take with offline payments", Kavin Bharti Mittal, founder and CEO of Hike Messenger told ET.

Hike will also allow those who don't actively use a bank account to send and receive money from friends through the wallet.

Speaking about the Hike Wallet feature, it allows users to transfer instantly to any bank in the country. Blue packets is an envelope that users can insert money into and send to their friends. Users can choose from 10 well-crafted virtual envelopes and add their personal message to it.

However, the users can also avail easy recharge options with Hike 5.0, as they can now recharge their phones and pay their postpaid bill right from inside Hike.

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Hike, founded in 2012 by Kavin Bharti Mittal, follows the lead of China's WeChat, another messaging app and WhatsApp rival.

Hike 5.0 will be launched to all iOS and Android users on Sunday, 25 June. If you give Blue Packets to a group of your friends, you can have a little fun and select how many people in the group should get it. "Hike 5.0 is the biggest update we've released in the history of Hike", Mittal said at the launch. The recipient doesn't need to have a Hike app account to be able to receive money. It could be from a simple Thank You or Congratulations to a Happy Birthday. There are three new App themes- Blue, Zen, and Night along with new chat themes.

Digital transactions in India have surged after Prime Minister Narendra Modi's shock ban of certain high-value bank notes in November that accounted for almost 85% of the country's currency in circulation at the time.

The Facebook-owned messaging app, which counts India has its largest market with about 200 million users, could use India as a testbed for launching its payment services. "We're really excited about the possibilities with this and can't wait to see how people use it", added Bharti.

"With Hike 5.0, we have reduced the app size to just 25MB despite adding all these features and have also added 128-bit SSL encryption to ensure that communication across the air and wire networks, is completely encrypted", he said.

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