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Hike ties up with Airtel Payment Bank to boost its wallet service


India unicorn messaging-cum-wallet app Hike has tied up with Airtel Payments Bank to give users wider access to financial transactions including merchant and utility payments.

“Through this partnership, Airtel Payments Bank gets access to over 100M (million) users on Hike and will begin powering the Hike Wallet product,” Hike said in a statement.

Hike Messenger VP (Product) Pathik Shah said the company has seen tremendous traction on the wallet over the last few months, most of it being organic.“It is on track for over 5 million transactions this month with services like Recharge and peer to peer transactions,” he added.

According to him, in light of the new KYC (know-your-customer) guidelines of Reserve Bank of India for mobile wallets, the partnership will ensure that users have an uninterrupted service when the new guidelines kick in, reported Bloomberg Quint.

Last month, the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) had directed companies and banks to make KYC (know-your-customer) compliant prepaid payment instruments (PPIs) — mobile wallets, interoperable within the next six months.

According to the new guidelines, all the PPIs will now be interoperable, which means it will allow a transaction with each other. It brought in fraud detection norms to prevent fake wallet transactions ­­ steps which will change the scope of operations for mobile wallets.

Founded in July 2012 by Kavin Bharti Mittal, it came out in a joint venture between Bharti Enterprises and Japan’s SoftBank Group. Hike was the first messaging company in India to reach the $1 billion valuation mark. The company joins the unicorn club within four years of inception.

The SoftBank-backed app Hike revenue has seen steep down in the financial year ended this March, according to the filings with Registrar of Companies.

Hike earns majorly through coupons and games bought by users. At present, almost 90 percent of its users are in India. Wechat also came to India in 2012 but didn’t see much traction as it faced tough competition from WhatsApp, which has a leadership position in the country.

In August 2016, the messaging app raised $175 million (Rs 1,170 crore then) from China’s Tencent Holdings Ltd, Taiwan’s Foxconn Technology Group and other investors. This took the total funding in the company to $250 million.

Earlier this year homegrown messaging and social media app, acqui-hired Bengaluru-based consumer technology startup Creo for an undisclosed amount. It acquired InstaLively Livestreaming and a hyperlocal social networking app Pulse in June.

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