200px-FreeCharge_logoOnline recharge and couponing service FreeCharge has introduced a new “Speak to recharge” service on its Windows Phone app and users can now recharge their mobile phones, DTH connections with a voice command.

How it works is that once you make a successful transaction on the FreeCharge app on your Windows phone, an option will be shown to “save as voice card”. You’ll have to provide a nickname for the voice card. For example you can use a nickname for yourself as “me” and say “Freecharge Me”. You can also assign nicknames for other people for their transactions. Note you have to buy FreeCharge credits and store it in its wallet for this service to work. To load money into the wallet you can use net banking or cards for the same which will follow the RBI’s two-factor authentication. The voice recharges are linked to the wallet and payments are made from that.

The Voice Card is synced with Cortana, Windows Phone’s voice assistant programme, and you have to long press say the voice command. Alok Goel, CEO of FreeCharge, told Medianama that they are working on voice recharges on the Android operating system but declined to give a time frame when it would roll out. 

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bl4zxJcfpv0

Earlier in September, FreeCharge raised $33 million in a series B funding from Sofina, Sequia Capital and Runet. Freecharge also claims that its Android app had crossed 5 million downloads on Google Play Store. It also noted that over 80% of its transactions are happening on its mobile apps and it has selectively started rolling out a new & improved app for its Android users.

Our take: Well it’s interesting that they have decided to roll out the new feature on the Windows Phone rather than Android and iOS, considering that they have 5 lakh downloads and they have over 80% of its transactions on the mobile. The iOS’ Siri seems to be a more mature system for accepting voice commands and it also remains to be seen whether they will extend it to other voice assistants in the market.

Personally I’ve never found voice assistants that helpful for the simple reason that they can’t pick up on accents well and it remains to be seen how it will play out in India where there are so many regional accents.