HDFC Bank, the country’s second largest private sector bank, unveiled its banking application for the Apple Watch which allows its customers to view their account summaries and also recharge their mobile phones and DTH connections. The application is live on the Apple Store and can be downloaded by anyone who has an Apple Watch.
HDFC Bank says that Apple Watch app will work when paired via Bluetooth with its mobile application for iOS devices. Note the wearable app works with iPhone 5 and above only. HDFC Bank said that it is developing a wearables application for the Android operating system but declined to give a timeline for the application.
The lender said that the Apple Watch application is merely a projection of the mobile banking app and works in conjunction with it. Customers will have to create a customized Watch banking PIN on the mobile app to access the account on the Apple Watch.
As a security feature, the user’s session gets automatically timed out if it is inactive for more than five minutes. Additionally user will have to type in a pass code on the Apple watch to log into the device.
Rival ICICI Bank earlier in April announced its application for wearables. Called iWear, ICICI Bank’s wearables app is available for Android, Apple and Tizen devices.
The application’s features
The bank said that it is currently allowing about 10 account transactions via the Apple Watch app and will be adding more functionalities further down. For now, the transactions available are:
– Customers can view their account information which includes all their savings accounts, current accounts, fixed deposits, demat accounts, mutual funds and credit cards
– Recharge mobile phones and DTH connections. Note recharges are allowed only for pre-registered numbers.
– Request account statement ad cheque books
– Locate the closest ATM and bank branch
– View messages from the bank and discount offers
– Hotlist lost debit cards
The bank says that it will soon the application will allow the payment of bills through active notifications, offers based on location and payment of pre-added bills.
Mobile recharge design
One of the design features which we found quite helpful and interesting on HDFC Bank’s Apple Watch app was the design for recharging mobile phones and DTH services. In ICICI Bank’s application we found the recharging mechanism quite cumbersome and limited. Customers will have to enter a fixed amount for recharging a particular number on the application on their mobile phone and users can then tap on a single button on the smartwatch application to finish the transaction. The amount will be deducted from the customer’s ICICI Bank account.
But that brings the question if you’re entering the details for recharges and bill payments on the smartphones, they can very well be done on the mobile phone.
But HDFC Bank’s design allows customer to enter the amount they want to recharge on the Apple Watch itself. A look at HDFC Bank’s recharge feature design:
It’s a small step, but it means that users can at least change the denomination they want to recharge their mobile phones on their smartwatches. This design feature can come in handy when and if the bank decides to expand the scope its application and allow more financial transactions.