While we had all been expecting Facebook-owned WhatsApp to be the very first messaging giant to adopt the country’s UPI (Unified Payments Interface) initiative and roll out their wallet services, but homegrown Hike has beaten them to the punch. With today’s release of its fifth and major overhaul of the platform, Hike has also added UPI-powered wallet services to its widely-known app.

The new mobile wallet enables the users of the messaging app to instantly send and receive money using the government-backed UPI interface. The service is completely free and provides immediate access to bank-to-bank transactions without any hiccups. It has partnered with Yes Bank, who is also the UPI partner of Flipkart’s PhonePe, to enable the UPI integration and debut its very own wallet.

Using the messaging giant’s wallet services, you can not only swiftly transfer funds to your Hike contacts but also perform all other functions a digital wallet should be capable of. This means you can use the same to recharge your phone or pay your postpaid bills.

But, the one gimmicky (but let’s stay appealing!) thing Hike has done with the wallet service is the introduction of Blue Packets. It will surely one of the more used features of the app as it enables you to send monetary gifts through personalized digital envelopes to your Hike contacts. The money is added to the recipient’s wallet, making the feature resemble WeChat’s Red Packet service.

Talking about their payments integration, Kavin Bharti Mittal, Hike’s founder and CEO in a statement said:

It’s one step further in our vision to make Hike a messaging platform that will change the way people interact with content and service.

This integration with NPCI’s (National Payments Corporation of India) payments platform makes the company one of the largest UPI-based platforms for the nation overnight. Hike currently boasts close to 100 million registered users and making the digital payments service available to everyone in one single swoop accelerates the country’s ambitious move towards a cashless economy.

Joining the unicorn club, Hike had recently picked up a fresh $175 million from Chinese behemoth Tencent. It has since visited the company’s Chinese offices multiple times to understand the working and ideology of their massively popular messaging app, that is WeChat. Kavin, the son of magnate Sunil Bharti Mittal, has accepted that some of the features in the new update have been inspired by their Chinese counterpart.

Hike, with the said update, has refreshed their messaging app’s interface with the launch of themes. You will be able to update the look and feel of your app, be switching between the usual blue, zen, royal, or night mode. The company has further also reduced its app size, toning it down to just 25MB. It has also added 128-bit SSL encryption that ensures your conversations remains completely encrypted.

Talking about this brand new update, Kavin continues to add:

Over the last 6 months, we’ve been working to bring a brand new experience to our users with one question in mind – How do we take all the things that users love about Hike and make it even better? Hike 5.0 is our most ambitious step in that direction till date.

On the other hand, WhatsApp’s co-founder Brian Acton, while on his visit to India earlier this year, had talked about adding to the capabilities of the platform in the coming months. He even doled out details on the messaging giant’s work on a separate business-focused app that will be piloted in India. And ever since we’ve been hearing chatter about the company acquiring a license for UPI integration, but it is still lagging behind on the roll out.

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