Hike Set to Roll Out Payments Feature

Hike Messenger is set to launch a payments mechanism on its app that will be linked to the government-backed UPI, a move that can make the messaging app the first in India to have the capability ahead of peers such as WhatsApp.

The home-bred messaging app, which raised $175 million last year from Tencent and Foxconn, valuing the company at $1.4 billion, may launch peer-to-peer payments within the app and provide a platform for making digital transactions such as recharges for mobile phone subscriptions.

The app is holding talks with an Indian bank to support the back end of the payments service. The messaging platform had said last November that it will look at integrating payments into the app and making the messenger a platform for making purchases from the app, a model which has a lot of resemblance with WeChat, the Chinese super-app backed by Tencent.

By launching payments, Hike would become the closest competitor to WhatsApp, which is planning to launch payments in India in the next six months.

The largest messaging app in the world, which considers India as its biggest market with over 200 million users, may also introduce payments based on UPI and BHIM. The government launched the BHIM-Aadhaar or Aadhaar Pay app that authenticates a customer's biometric details linked to his Aadhaar account through fingerprint scanner, thus doing away with the need to remember banking details.

The payment play of WhatsApp, Truecaller, Hike and even several wallet apps like Paytm and MobiKwik ties in with the government's structured move towards cashless transactions, while using or even without using the Internet.

When the payment service goes live, it could make Hike the largest UPI-based payment platform in the country.

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