Hike Messenger has partnered Yes Bank to launch Hike Wallet as part of its latest app update. Users will be able to transfer money, recharge their phones, and send cash vouchers.
The wallet is integrated with Unified Payments Interface (UPI) and allows users to perform bank-to-bank transfers. The transfer can be carried out even if the recipient isn’t on Hike Messenger. In case one doesn’t have an active bank account (read students) or doesn’t wish to use your bank account, wallet-to-wallet transfers can be carried out as well.
Phones can be recharged and postpaid bills can be paid from within the Hike app using the wallet. It’s not clear if Hike has tied-up with certain telcos for this, and if so then which telcos, or if it will work irrespective of the user’s network provider.
This is sort of a digital cash voucher. Users can send these to friends or family on special occasions and add personalised messages. This is almost identical to WeChat’s Red Packets (formerly known as Red Envelopes). Fun fact: WeChat users, reportedly, sent 46 billion Red Packets during the Lunar New Year (in January).
Active Users and Funding
In January last year, Hike claimed it had more than 100 million registered users and 40 billion messages monthly, but didn’t mention how many of them are active users. The company also mentioned that 90% of its user base is from India.
Hike Messenger had raised $175 million from China’s Tencent and Foxconn in a series D round of funding, in August last year. Tencent also owns messaging app WeChat, which was launched in India in 2012. Hike seems to be attempting to ape the WeChat model in India – aggregating a host of services within a single chat app. In that case, what happens to WeChat in India?
Hike’s biggest rival Whatsapp’s co-founder Brian Acton had announced in February this year that it is looking at entering the payment space in India. The Facebook owned messaging app has 200 million active users in India. (Also read: What WhatsApp will have to consider before entering the payments biz in India)
Alibaba and Softbank backed Paytm Payments Bank announced earlier today that it will integrate with UPI by August this year. With UPI option, users can send and receive money without the hassle of entering bank details like A/C no, IFSC code, etc. provided that the receiver also holds a virtual private address (VPA). VPA’s are unique addresses assigned to UPI users.
Other features of Hike
- In November last year, it launched in-app camera and stories features that would destruct itself in 48 hours.
- In October last year, the company launched video calling for Android users, nearly a month before WhatsApp. It also added audio group calling with up to 100 people.
- Hike also launched a feature called ‘Car Match’, allowing Hike users match, connect, chat and share rides
- In December 2015, it launched in 8 Indic languages including Hindi, Marathi, Tamil, Gujarati, Bengali, Kannada, Malayalam and Telugu.
- It September 2015, it started aggregating Hindi news stories a month after it started aggregating English News stories
- In October, Hike introduced a new feature called Hike Direct, allowing users to send messages off grid, i.e. without the use of telecom networks or an active Internet connection.