Axis Bank's Ping Pay: Banking goes Social

By Saumya Tewari , afaqs!, New Delhi | In Digital | June 22, 2015
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The bank has launched a multi-social payment app which allows users to transfer money and recharge mobile using social and messaging channels.

While going app-only is in vogue these days, consumers are still wary when it comes to online banking, that too through an app. Adding a personal touch, in an otherwise impersonal act of fund transfer, is Axis Bank's multi-social payment app Ping Pay. The app allows users to transfer money and recharge mobile using social and messaging channels like WhatsApp, Facebook, Twitter, e-mail and SMS, without even knowing the bank account details of the beneficiary.

The app has been developed in partnership with Fastacash, a Singapore-based firm, and allows users to transfer money, airtime, and other tokens of value, along with digital content (photos, videos, audios, messages), through social networks.

After installing the app, Axis Bank sends the user an eight-digit OTP code after which he/she needs to put in the six-digit mobile pin. One needs to register their bank account details for sending or receiving money. One can also add multiple accounts and choose the account one wants to send/receive money from. Post registration, the user needs to decide which social connect he/she wants to link to Ping Pay and switch on those social connects. Once this is done, as the user initiates a request for asking or sending money or recharge, his/her friend list gets populated across all the social platforms that are switched on. All fund transfers are instant, through IMPS. Recharge is routed through one of Axis Bank's aggregators and is instant as well. A user can transfer up to Rs. 50,000 per day.

Axis Bank's research has highlighted that consumers are becoming increasingly comfortable with transacting online and utilising avenues that enable them to do this, as long as their security and convenience needs are addressed. Thus, launching Ping Pay, which integrates these aspects, seemed like a logical choice to the bank.

"Exchange of money usually happens between friends and family, who are linked to each other through various social channels. Moreover, most of our payments to friends and family have a story or an instance attached to it. Hence, integration of the two makes the entire process of payments and transactions much more engaging and fun," explains the spokesperson.

Currently, Axis Bank has three million fans on Facebook and over 75,000 followers on Twitter.

While social media is often associated with sharing one's moments with others, a payment or a transaction is a private affair. The spokesperson clarifies that although the app is multi-social, the exchange of messages and money transfer notifications take place in a private chat.

"The feature of appending texts, pictures, audio or video messages enables users to encapsulate and share the story around money exchange, with people they are anyway connected with on social media," the spokesperson adds.

Axis Bank is leveraging Fastacash services to send messages with fastalinks through these social platforms while sending/asking money or recharge. Each of these links is locked to a profile and cannot be accessed by an unintended recipient. And, while sending money, the sender sets a four-digit Ping Code which is to be shared with the beneficiary as he/she can receive money only when the Ping code is entered.

"Further to access the application a six digit MPIN is set by the user. The back-end processes are secure and each transaction is instant through IMPS. We have ensured the application is safe and secure to use," the spokesperson assures.

Axis Bank's Ping Pay app targets male and female customers, in the age group of 20 to 34 years. According to the bank, these consumers are socially connected and digital driven, and for them money is an enabler of their experiences; they are carefree but not careless while dealing with it.

The bank currently is not incurring any charge to the consumer to use the app and the consumer complaints related to this app will be addressed by its existing customer service channel extending across multiple mediums (online, phone, branch). Non-Axis Bank customers can receive money/recharge and ask for money/recharge from anyone in their friend list, without knowing their bank account details using Ping Pay.

Axis Bank has recently launched a 360-degree media campaign, with a heavy focus on digital, supported by radio and outdoor mediums, to promote the app, featuring its brand ambassador Deepika Padukone.

The campaign designed by Lowe Lintas Mumbai, and is based on the insight that instances of money exchange between friends do not involve just the exchange of money, but also an emotion which sums up the story around the money exchange. The commercials articulate this insight as "Jab bhi pay karo, kuch na kuch say karo" or "Whenever you pay, say what you want to say." The thought is brought alive in the films with several instances of friends exchanging comments, pictures etc, when they pay money to each other.

Arun Iyer

Arun Iyer, national creative director, Lowe Lintas + Partners, says, "The product is primarily designed keeping the youth in mind. While thinking of the communication idea, we recollected and observed how money transactions between friends are informal, and are often accompanied by fun, humour and sarcasm. It is this casual nature of youngsters which inspired our campaign execution."

Apart from the TV campaign, several targeted B2C campaigns are also being rolled out, to create awareness around Ping Pay and its proposition. The bank is also using its branch network for spreading awareness amongst customers and getting them to download and experience the app.

Interestingly, HDFC Bank has also launched a payment solution app, called PayZapp, which allows consumers to do mobile phone top-ups, instant money transfers, bill payments, groceries and big-ticket purchases such as foreign holidays and designer clothes.

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