Hike messenger is getting a major update today, and brings in some really cool features in addition to being the first to launch the most-discussed UPI payments on instant messenger apps. It has been long rumoured that WhatsApp and Hike messenger are bringing UPI payments to their messaging apps, and Hike’s beat WhatsApp to being the first to launch this.
Hike 5 brings a few key features, emphasising
Hike messenger 5 is available on beta for users at the time of writing this post, and should be rolling out for general users through the coming days. This should take only a few hours though.
Introducing the all-new Hike Wallet
Hike messenger 5 is the first of the kind to launch a peer-to-peer money transfer system, Hike Wallet, and is betting big on taking over WhatsApp with this launch. Hike Wallet enables seamless money transfer between users.
Payments can be done between users by 2 ways: UPI-powered, wallet-powered for users who do not have a bank account.
Unified Payments Interface (UPI) is a NPCI (National Payments Corporation of India) initiative, backed by RBI and the government of India, that taps right into users’ banks account to make money transfer possible. UPI majorly eliminates the involvement of wallet apps or bank-powered money transfer systems (IMPS, RTGS, NEFT). UPI’s already successful with PhonePe and BHIM being major players in the game. It would be interesting to see how the introduction of UPI on Hike messenger changes the game in favor of Hike messenger’s growth.
Yes Bank’s Hike banking partner to enable UPI payments on the Hike messenger app. With over 100 million users on Hike, Hike is now the largest UPI based platform in India.
Hike’s confirmed that Hike Wallet is available only for Android users for the time being, and that iPhone users are to get it later in July. 5% of the Android Hike users are to get the new Hike Wallet today, while the rest are to get Hike Wallet by the June 25.
In addition to money transfer, Hike Wallet will also enable users to make mobile recharges and bill payments right inside the Hike messenger app. This is a huge feat for Hike, for this market’s primarily dominated by Paytm wallet, Mobikwik wallet and Freecharge, under Snapdeal.
Hike’s Blue packets, Like WeChat’s Red packets
It is a well-known fact that WeChat’s the most popular messaging app in China and stands with as much as 900M active users. Half of the lot use WeChat as much as 90 minutes a day, for WeChat powers most transactions and has deep-integrations across.
Hike’s taking a piece of WeChat’s concept and is introducing Blue packets, similar to WeChat’s Red packets, that enable users to gift money to friends by digital vouchers.
This can be deemed similar to what Udio wallet does in India, or what Amazon India, Flipkart do with their in-house gift voucher program, except that Hike Blue Packets are purely monetary value for free use, and can be gifted to friends on special occassions. Hike Blue Packets expire in 24 hours of being sent.
— hike (@hikeapp) June 20, 2017
This can be sent to individual friends or a group of friends, and expire based on the number redemption eligibility set (first come first serve basis) or in 24 hours. This could particularly be handy for brands conduting contests on the Hike messenger app.
With Blue Packets, we’re going to change the way people send and receive money. We believe we can make that experience fun and also a new form of messaging. Can money be the new Sticker? We believe so. That’s the idea. – Kavin Bharti Mittal, CEO of Hike messenger.
App themes and night mode
Hike messenger is adding a new night mode feature with Hike 5.
Hike 5 is also getting a makeover with new looks, which have been built with suggestions shared by as much as 100 top Hike users, over months of developement. Hike 5 is introducing app themes with this launch. Users can select from a range of new app themes that refect a personalized messaging concept for users. This is something beyond chat wallpapers that reflect between both the users. App themes applies across the whole Hike messenger system, for a rich messaging experience.
Hike messenger launches AI-powered Magic Selfie
Hike messenger is also launching Magic Selfie that enables users to enhance photos they share. Hike claims they have put up months of artificial intelligence and machine learning techniques to help enhance users’ photos. Magic Selfie is available on Hike 5 and above.
Text to stickers: Hike messenger also adds a new feature for Stickers – users can now send text they type as stickers. Hike 5 will generate new stickers based on the text you type, as you type. Get Hike 5 to see it live.
On a final note, Hike messenger is bringing back Timeline on Hike 5. Timeline is polished better and offers text updates and link updates, with photos alongside. Hike 5 is to be available for all users in the coming days, on Google Play Store and Apple App Store.
Hike messenger is valued at 1.4 billion and raised its latest round of funding in August 2016, at 175M USD, led by Tencent and Foxconn. Hike messenger acheived this feat in 3.7 years of launching and is the fastest to have attained the Unicorn status in India. Hike messenger counts Bharti, SoftBank and Tiger Global among its investors.
All image credits: Manish Singh.