Transferring funds through Whatsapp

Social media has completely transformed the way we communicate today, both at the personal /social level as well as at the corporate / commercial level. Now it has gone a step further and introduced a financial level, through Facebook, twitter etc. The latest entrant in introducing this facility is WhatsApp. This feature is currently offered by Axis Bank through its Ping Pay Service.

This service enables the user to send or receive funds or do a mobile recharge using WhatsApp. This facility can be availed of by non–customers of the bank but only for receiving funds.

How does it work?

The user has to download the application on to an android or ios phone and follow the steps for registration. After due authentication the bank account can be linked to the application. There is an MPIN or unique code which has to be entered to enables the transactions. The user can select a contact and instantly transfer funds or receive funds sent by a contact.

The payments are routed through the Immediate Payment Service (IMPS) mechanism. IMPS is a tool launched by the National Payments Corporation of India (NPCI) to enable the interbank funds transfer through mobile phones. Funds can be transferred through Mobile, Internet or ATM using this tool. The best part of this facility is that the transfer is instant while other applications may take from 30 minutes to 24 hours and it is 24X7.

The receiver gets an SMS notification on the transaction and has to enter the code shared by the sender to enable transfer of funds to his bank account. The funds have to be received within 15 days of transfer failing which there is an auto-reversal into the sender’s account. Similarly the feature can be used to ask for a mobile recharge from friends, relatives etc.

Benefits

This is perhaps the most convenient way of banking today with no hassles of visiting a branch or looking for a PC to use for internet banking.

The instant transfer facility makes it very useful in times of emergencies where you are in sudden need of cash and need to ask a friend. The friend on the other hand doesn’t need to rush to you or a bank branch to do the needful. Similarly parents can send across money to their wards pursuing education at different cities or even countries.

There is no hassle of feeding in IFSC code or other bank details to make payments.

The facility offers the convenience of paying utility bills or remittances through mobile phones.

In case the mobile phone is lost the user can arrange to disable the facility on the phone to avoid misuse.

Is it safe?

As we know convenience in banking comes with an increased element of risk and any activity on the internet or social media is vulnerable to hacking.

The bank currently offering the facility has stated that the platform provided is completely secure. Features like OTP verification does ensure that the user is notified of any activity in the account.

Another possible concern is that social media entering into the commercial aspect of our lives. For most people they are two things which are to be kept separate.

However with busy schedules, the need for convenience takes over and eventually acceptability of these facilities. With the right precautions from our side we could ensure safety along with convenience.