PhonePe, having just celebrated its first birthday, has already gained an enormous number of dedicated followers. From sceptics and critics to loyalists and tech enthusiasts, PhonePe customers across the spectrum took notice of its offerings. Making an entry at the right time, PhonePe was like a knight in shining armor for those suffering from demonetization woes, providing them with a trusty alternative. No longer did PhonePe customers need to queue up for ATM privileges or wonder about how to buy things incapable of being rounded off! And yet, as with all fintech (financial technology) innovations, PhonePe also has its fair share of cynics right alongside its admirers. Regardless of whether you fall in the former or the latter category, you are bound to be interested in what these PhonePe customers say about the app that added 10 million users in 9 weeks! Read on to see how they leveraged going cashless with PhonePe.
In Bengaluru, Meghana Reddy is a working mom who juggles the relentless responsibilities at work and home. Always pressed for time, she keeps track of new tech innovations more out of necessity than fascination. Every once in a while, she finds that technology offers her a time-saving contribution that could help her knock off a few precious minutes while completing her tasks. Like running to the nearest ATM every time the gardener asks for cash to buy gardening paraphernalia.
“You can’t estimate what the next requirement will be, how much it will cost, and when you might need it. The gardener may require a shovel today, red earth tomorrow, and plant fertilizers after five days. Since I’m rarely home, I can’t be around all the time to give him the money in person, and neither can I expect him to carry cash with him. It’s my responsibility to pay him as and when the need arises, not before or after,” she says.
Such instances, when you need immediate cash, occur frequently in all our lives. Usually, they are written off since your nearest ATM is not very far away. However, in Meghana’s case, one trip to the cash machine would mean less time with her family. And for what? Something that was easily avoidable, thanks to PhonePe.
“Going to the ATM just does not make sense anymore. Not with apps like PhonePe, which make cash transactions seem pointless and unnecessarily time-consuming.”
From convenient to cutting-edge, PhonePe delivers on all fronts
While Meghana found the app fulfilling a unique purpose, what about the other early adopters? Were they tech geeks or simply people looking for innovative solutions to everyday needs? Take Manoj MJ, for example. A Kochi resident, he found out about this UPI-based app on the news and became a user on the very day it launched. Why? “It was a great solution to my everyday dilemma,” he says. “I have lunch with my colleagues on a daily basis and splitting the bill was a perennial problem. Now, I use PhonePe.”
In the case of Chinky Chhabra, too, a consultant with Accenture Strategy in Mumbai, coordinating among 15 friends while chipping in for a wedding gift became a piece of cake, thanks to PhonePe. “It’s so much easier to coordinate and collect money from so many people with PhonePe,” she says.
Arun Sathiya’s reason for adopting the app is a little different. Originally from Madurai, he currently lives in Chennai. A product marketer at Freshdesk, he also runs a technology blog called Briffly and a deals site, StrikeBuys. “I’m tech-savvy not just because I like trying new stuff, but also because I need to know about new tech to review it on my blog. I came to know about PhonePe from Twitter and I downloaded the PhonePe app on the first day it was available on Android,” he says.
What features made Arun keep the app rather than delete it the next day?
“PhonePe is one of those apps that has changed my experience with financial transactions,” avers the Chennai resident. “It’s a game changer. I use it at least once a week. With catchy deals, beautiful UX, and incredible customer support, PhonePe has replaced a lot of banking and wallet apps on my phone.”
Swetika Batra, who teaches Hindi at Delhi Government School, uses the PhonePe app primarily to pay her mobile bills. But what she likes about it is that it links directly to the bank account, negating the need to recharge a ‘digital wallet’ before use.
This is something that Bhavani Jade, another Bengaluru resident and one among the prolific PhonePe customers, likes about the PhonePe app, too. “It’s so easy to transfer funds with this app. No need to add people’s account number, IFSC code, etc., to transfer money if we both have the app. And even if they don’t, just add the same details using your smartphone and it’s done! No wait time to complete the transaction!” she exclaims.
So, does she know about all the different characteristics of the app?
“Yes. I know it supports various payment modes, wallet top ups, card-saving, and multiple language features. I especially like the great cashback offers, though,” she says with a smile. Find out everything you should know about PhonePe here.
Who has the time anymore? PhonePe customers innovate for everyday needs
Indians have always taken technological breakthroughs in stride, never shying away from utilizing them for purposes large and small. However, what truly sets this nation apart is its penchant for jugaad — the way its people find original uses for technology and customize it to suit their lives. If PhonePe’s features are impressive, so are the methods by which PhonePe customers incorporate it in their daily lives.
Take Meghana, for example. Not only does is she among those PhonePe customers that pays her entire household staff, including the gardener and her children’s babysitter with PhonePe, but she’s also devised unique applications for the app. “My smallest transaction via PhonePe was ₹54. It has completely eliminated the cycles of ‘I’ll give you the money later’, or ‘Come to me, take the money, then give me the change’ that are usually associated with petty transactions. In Bengaluru, there are many small shops that serve idli and dosa on the side of the road, called darshinis. I use PhonePe there as well, for a ₹15 coffee or a ₹20 dosa. Especially around Hatti Kaapi [a fast-food chain reputed for its filter coffee] here and the Outer Ring Road in Hyderabad, I prefer paying the shopkeepers with the app, since even they experience cash shortages. As long as they have a bank account, PhonePe is the best option. This way, no one has to waste time looking for cash.”
Like Meghana, Bhavani also prefers figuring out personalized ways to make use of the mobile payments app. “Apart from the usual utility bills, I use PhonePe for infrequent expenses as well, like going to restaurants or movies with friends. It’s so much easier than handing the exact amount to each other on the spot, and the confusion that follows it.”
Aparna Chugh, a product manager from Delhi who counts among the most active PhonePe customers, thinks lightning-fast payments are just one part of PhonePe’s charm. “The app does more than just help me pay the monthly rent, broadband, and landline bills. It also ensures I don’t miss out on paying them by sending timely reminders.” The app’s home screen gives a quick snapshot of the variety of payments you can make. It also remembers the bills you pay regularly so you don’t have to keep entering logins and passwords to different portals each time you’re trying to make a payment. “These are subtleties, but go a long way in making the experience better,” she says.
Transcending traditional limits: PhonePe customers pinpoint attractive features
Subtle improvements are nice, but what are some of the notable benefits that PhonePe offers?
Jadunath Roy, a resident of Barpeta Road in Assam and one of the young PhonePe customers we interviewed for this story, thinks it’s the long balance validity. “As long as you transact at least once in two years, your PhonePe wallet will stay active, and the balance will not expire. Since I prefer making only large transactions with the app, I think this validity is very important. It allows me the freedom to deposit large amounts to my wallet without worrying about whether it will suddenly vanish,” he says.
Along the same lines, Arun thinks the maximum single transaction limit of ₹1 lakh, along with excellent customer support, is the most attractive feature. “PhonePe is my default payments app. There was this time when one of my fund transfers, amounting to ₹1 lakh from my bank, wasn’t credited at the other end. I created a support ticket on the app, and I used the “Call me back” option available. I received a call within the next two minutes. PhonePe confirmed that the transaction had passed their system successfully and it was a tech issue at the recipient’s bank. They put me in touch with the recipient’s bank’s customer support team in the next 30 minutes. I spoke to the bank team and provided all the reference numbers. This was investigated and the money was credited to the other party in 1 hour flat. PhonePe did a great job supporting me through this process.”
For Manoj, PhonePe stands out because of the features its team adds to the app based on customer needs. “For example, the ‘Send to self’ option was not available when they launched, but they realized that it is a very useful thing to have and released that feature. The fact that PhonePe listens to customers and then works on their requirements is commendable.”
What’s the secret behind the PhonePe success story?
PhonePe’s success is far from a stroke of luck. Sameer Nigam and Rahul Chari, co-founders of the app, were both Vice Presidents of Engineering at Flipkart before creating PhonePe, and found that online payments via digital wallets were becoming increasingly popular. Moreover, around the time PhonePe was readying for launch, UPI suddenly became a buzzword with Prime Minister Narendra Modi talking about it on national media. With encrypted technology offering added security, consumers felt more confident about using mobiles to pay, and PhonePe created an instant resonance among customers looking to go cashless.
PhonePe’s recent upgrade also increased localisation, adding regional languages such as Tamil, Gujarati, Kannada, etc., to the mix, and offering consumers more convenience. “We believe India is at the cusp of a new mobile revolution, which will change the way we manage our money on the go. We see ourselves facilitating this change, through technology and dogged customer centricity,” says the PhonePe leadership team, which also include Burzin Engineer, CRO, apart from Sameer Nigam, CEO, and Rahul Chari, CTO.
As Meghana puts it, “It is obvious that the founders were very passionate about this app. They set out with the objective of doing everything right while creating a superb mobile payments app, and it looks like they succeeded.”
Want to enjoy benefits like these PhonePe customers? Download the PhonePe app here.
Also read: 7 things you must know about the PhonePe app