Hike adds wallet, UPI payment features to messaging platform

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Instant messaging platform Hike on Tuesday rolled out an in-app electronic payments wallet in India in a bid to cash in on the increasing volume of digital transactions following demonetisation, Reuters reported.

In an Indian first, the latest Hike upgrade introduces a wallet that takes advantage of a partnership with Yes Bank and the government-backed Unified Payments Interface (UPI) for free instant bank-to-bank transfers between friends - even if the recipient is not on Hike. Yes Bank is the banking partner enabling Hike to launch UPI and the Wallet. The update would allow its users to send digital "blue packets" or envelopes containing money to their friends within the app and pay mobile phone bills. Users can choose from over 10 different beautifully crafted envelopes and also add a personalised message to it to celebrate those special occasions.

The wallet will be available for use across all Android and iOS users by June 25 and July end, respectively, as part of an update to the existing app called Hike 5.0. "Hike 5.0 is our most ambitious step in that direction till date", added Kavin Bharti Mittal.

Blue Packets to a group of your friends, you can have a little fun and select how many people in the group should get it. "Hike 5.0 is the biggest update we've released in the history of Hike", Mittal said at the launch.

Having pipped Whatsapp that is also working on foraying into digital payment services later this year, the homebred messaging platform has set a target of becoming the leading messaging and payment app in the country.

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Kavin further added, "With Blue Packets, we're going to change the way people send and receive money".

This is similar to what Hike's backer Tencent - which led a $175 million funding round in Hike previous year - introduced with their Chinese messaging app WeChat and "red packets". We believe so. That's the idea.

Immediately on opening Hike 5.0, one can notice the new, slick look and feel. It could be from a simple Thank You or Congratulations to a Happy Birthday.

Last but not the least, version 5 of Hike is reintroducing the app's social network-like features, which took a hike a year ago, when Snapchat-esque Stories (48 hours and not 24 hours) was launched. "We hope with Blue Packets we can give our users a new avenue to express themselves". It's never been a better time for the company to launch its "digital payments" as other providers in the space, such as Paytm, have massively increased their share of the market.

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