Are you appsolutely mobile?

A host of new digital offerings now allow you to carry out payments and other financial activities using your smartphone. Radhika Merwin talks to some people for their take on all things app

Paying bills through smartphone



For Navneet Narwal, security comes before convenience. While he does use his mobile for various transactions, he is careful not to go overboard with it.

“I use my mobile for paying internet, phone and cable bills. I also book movie tickets through my smartphone once in a while,” says Navneet. But he does his money transfers through NEFT as he feels it is a safer mode. “I am worried about doing such transactions via mobile as there are chances of it getting stolen or hacked,” he says.

Navneet has kept his online transactions to a bare minimum on the advice of his brother who is in the police department. He says that hacking is quite common in Gurgaon, where he works as a program leader.

But Navneet agrees that using the mobile phone for various transactions has gotten a lot safer, with extra checks in place. “I am very comfortable with the one-time dynamic password that is generated and sent across to my mobile phone every time I use my debit card,” he says.

But he still does not use mobile wallets for making payments for his other purchases or using cab services. “One of my friends had a particularly unpleasant experience with one of the mobile wallet providers. I am still chary to use one for my payments,” he says.

Moreover, he seldom uses cab services or travels out of city. “The few occasions when I have to use a cab service, I pay through cash,” he adds.

But he does use Airtel Money to pay his phone bills.

For other online transactions, he still prefers to use his debit card. “Since every transaction is authenticated by a one-time password, I find it easier and safer to use my debit card directly, instead of loading money into different wallets,” he adds.

Regular banking activities using app

Akil and Zainab both have demanding careers that take a lot of their time. As parents of a nine-year old and a five-year old, they constantly juggle different roles.

Online payments have helped them manage their time well. “Majority of our payments are done online. A lot of our household shopping chores are done using the online route,” says Zainab, an IT professional.

“We use net banking and credit cards to pay mobile or broadband bills, depending on the reward points earned and special discounts provided,” says a tech savvy Zainab. But these are online transactions done through the internet. What about transactions on the mobile?

Zainab is quick to reply that they use their smartphones just as deftly to do regular banking transactions.

“We use the banking mobile app to do basic and regular transactions like checking balance, paying electricity bills, and making insurance payments, among others,” she says.

What about transferring money?

“We are yet to use IMPS for fund transfer. The conventional NEFT/RTGS still remains a reliable method for us. Usually, we need to transfer funds to our parents, pay maintenance charges or home loan instalments or even pay credit card bills.

Having said that, IMPS can be a great method in case of emergencies where you need to transfer money outside business hours,” says Akil.

Director in accounting advisory services of a leading accounting firm, he is well aware of the benefits of IMPS.

They have not used any of the mobile apps that allow money transfer to friends through the social network. “Some of my social accounts have been compromised in the past. I would prefer to keep my banking activities away from my social media accounts,” states Akil.

What about digital wallets? “We have rarely used mobile wallets to make payments for cab services and other purchases. There is the hassle of reloading the mobile wallets every time you make a purchase,” says Zainab, who loves to shop from the comfort of her home.



Mobile wallets to book cabs and recharge

Most private banks are leaving little to imagination, offering innovative banking solutions on the smartphone.

For Madhumitha Murali, a young corporate executive who loves globe-trotting, mobile banking app is literally convenience at her fingertips. “I use the YES Bank mobile banking application. It is very convenient. I use it for money transfer and recharge most of the time,” she says.

So, how easy was it to download and use the app? “I initially had to go to the bank and activate my mobile banking.

After that it was a breeze. I downloaded the app and it was ready to use! Navigating through the mobile is so much easier than internet banking,” she claims.

Since Madhumitha uses her mobile to transfer money, has she tried using Immediate Payment Service (IMPS). “No, I have not used IMPS. I still use National Electronic Funds Transfer (NEFT), through the mobile banking route. The only hassle is that I need to add the beneficiary 24 hours prior to the transfer,” she adds. Then why not try IMPS that offers instant transfer, we quiz her. She admits that she was not aware of this option. “Though I have seen the IMPS option, I don’t know how it works. It will be helpful if banks highlight the benefits of IMPS,” she suggests.

Madhumitha is also an active user of mobile wallets. “I use Citrus and Paytm quite often. I use OlaMoney to book cabs and Paytm for mobile recharge,” she says.

But doesn’t she find it difficult to manage so many wallets? “Not at all. It is wonderful that I do not have to carry cash all the time. I load the wallets with cash whenever I want.

Everything is just two or three buttons away,” she sums up.

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