Hike, one of India’s largest instant messaging (IM) platforms, has introduced its own payments wallet inside its messaging app. The move is being seen as a response to the rising number of digital transactions in the country. Hike’s backers, Tencent Holdings of China, also has similar services on offer.
The move also helps bring functionality and ease of usage together. Digital transactions have gained traction ever since demonetisation, in November last year, rendered two high-value denominations invalid. Hike is owned by the multifaceted Bharti Enterprises. Other digital payment providers like Paytm, which is backed by Alibaba and SoftBank Group, have also reaped huge dividends in the past few months.
Hike’s payment wallet and digital payment service, however, is the first such service laid out by a messaging service in the country.
Hike says that its wallet will allow instant transferring of money transfer among its clients besides enabling fund transfer to other banks. It will use the United Payments Interface or UPI system, which is government-backed. Hike Chief Executive Kavin Mittal has suggested that they were inspired by Tencent’s WeChat services in China.
Hike has also partnered with private sector banking major Yes Bank to allow the easy transfer of money to banks using the UPI system, Mittal said. Kavin Mittal is the son of Bharti Enterprises’ owner, the billionaire Sunil Bharti Mittal.
Mobile phone bill payments and traditional wallet-to-wallet transfers apart, Hike seems to have come up with other innovative ideas as well. For example, it will allow users to send “blue packets” or digital envelopes containing digital money to friends. This is a take from WeChat’s “red packets” feature.
Hike is part of Bharti Enterprises and boasts of more than 100 million registered users.
Launched in December 2012, Hike has since raised over $260 million from investors including Tiger Global, Tencent, and Bharti SoftBank, the last of which is a joint venture between Japan’s SoftBank and Bharti Enterprises.
Bharti Enterprises’ businesses are diversified and includes one of India’s top mobile carriers, Bharti Airtel.