What’s your favourite app?

Thanks to demonetisation, smart apps on the phone are fast gaining currency



When S Pradeep, a senior developer of a popular portal in India, dined with three friends recently, the waiter was in for some surprise. The waiter noticed that these ‘regulars’ at the restaurant were not pooling their cash to settle bills. This time around, Pradeep pulled out the credit card and paid the entire bill.

However, a few minutes later he reached out for his mobile and clicked the ‘Chillr’ app. “Chillr app has a multi-bank payment service through a tie-up with 34 banks in India. Interestingly, it has a killer feature called ‘split your bills’. We usually ‘go dutch’ by using it,” says Pradeep.

When a customer opens the ‘Chillr’ app, his address book is updated with the list of his friends who have downloaded it already. The next thing he has to do is just transfer the money to the respective bank accounts of his friends. Built on the secure IMPS (Immediate Payment Service) and UPI (Unified Payment Interface) platform, it gives its users a 24X7 facility to make fund transfers and payments. While the above app is providing the transfer facility free of cost, there could be IMPS charges levied by the bank for transfer made to other banks.

For Chennai-based Krishna Srinivas Vasudevan, working as a Process Executive at SocGen, the demonetisation move proved a blessing in disguise. Long, winding queues at ATMs and shortage of cash witnessed post-demonetisation forced him to take to the Paytm app. “The vegetable vendor next door was accepting payments via Paytm” says Krishna. Since then, he has been hooked to the app, making most of his payments, be it for travel or buying groceries, through this app.

Mukhund Muralidharan, a grade 11 student based in Mumbai, another big Paytm fan, says that he has been using it extensively for making purchases at Amazon. “I use my debit card to fill the Paytm wallet and use the latter for most of my purchases.”

He prefers travelling light on the pocket.

Cashbacks and offers

Cashbacks are a big attraction to download mobile apps. “Last year, Apple iPhone 6s was available for ₹60,000 and Paytm was giving a ₹10,000 cashback at their shopping portal,” recalls a customer who doesn’t want to give her name. “At ₹50,000 it was the cheapest deal at that point in time and I lapped it up,” she says. For UK-based student G Avinash, offers on referrals are a big draw. “I get £10 for referring a friend to this app”. He uses apps like TransferWise and WorldRemit to make money transfers as well as to repay education loans.

However, these apps are not free of problems. Sneha Nair, one of the customers of PayUmoney app, complains about ‘non-refund’ for one of her cancelled transactions. Through the post made at the Google store, she protests that she has to mail the company for redressal instead of making a phone call to their customer care number. Another Ola ‘share’ customer faced a similar problem when he was given short-shrift some time back. After the booking was done through the Ola app, his driver switched off the mobile.

“ I was billed ₹25 for cancelling the booking, despite the fact that it was the driver who cancelled it in the first place,” complained the customer on condition of anonymity. However, his problem was redressed when the support option on the app allowed for registering a ‘complaint’ to reverse the charges.

e-wallets and mobile banking

Some others like Sonny John, a musician based in Mumbai, use the ‘e-wallet’ of both the mobile service companies as well as those of banks. “I use the HDFC Bank mobile banking app for fund transfers and PayZapp for paying electricity bills and booking flight tickets,” he says.

However, he is a big fan of the IndusInd bank ‘video branch’ app. This application allows him to connect with his relationship manager or even the branch manager. “ I have a good broadband connection at home and find this app extremely useful, as I prefer face-to-face interaction to that over phone. Moreover, it has an additional security feature of fingerprint locks,” he says. While most of the transaction could be done through this app, some customers feel it could have been part of its mobile banking app.

Wallet apps are fast gaining popularity among users, be it of the mobile service providers or that of banks. Paytm, FreeCharge and MobiKwik are among those popular while PayZapp (HDFC Bank) and Pockets (ICICI Bank) are among the many wallet apps offered by banks.

Some customers such as Sonny prefer the mobile banking app of HDFC Bank for the ‘extra’ security feature. “Most of the mobile banking apps have password and OTP”. However, HDFC banking additionally asks a secret question that adds an extra shield of security, he says. This feature is also applicable in case of internet banking transactions of HDFC Bank.

For investing

Mukhund’s father, who is always on the move, prefers the ‘ICICI direct’ app for making the family’s investments. “My father uses the app extensively,” says Mukhund. The app has the option to make investments into stocks, mutual funds, bonds as well as derivatives. Moreover, there is a consolidated report to track past investments.

In fact, many mutual funds also have a mobile app. ICICI Prudential, for instance, has an app called IPRU Touch which can help initiate investments as well as redemptions through a smart phone. So which app are you downloading today?

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