On the sidelines of the launch of HDFC Bank's Go Digital campaign in Varanasi, the spiritual capital of India, the bank's Windows Phone app got a fine update as well, with more capabilities coming soon. The launch saw HDFC Bank announcing a technology agnostic Bank Aap Ki Muththi Mein (Bank in your hand) offering which aims to turn a mobile phone into a bank branch.
The official HDFC Bank app has been very efficient, and has garnered positive reviews and small updates every now and then, but a major refresh in the first week of December went awry. The update brought a set of new features allowing customers to use the app without logging in for contacting the bank for various services and support channels, sharing feedback, and locating nearby ATMs and bank branches.
However, the update prevented a lot of users on a certain Windows Phone 8.1 build to login to one's account. At the event, when I brought this to the notice of the team, I was told that the upcoming update will take care of it, and the test build I tried worked well which has recently been published on the Store as version 18.104.22.168.
As part of the new campaign, the next update will bring over 75 transactions to the app – by far the widest range of transactions conceivable. Besides essential transactions such as booking fixed and recurring deposits, bill and tax payments, buying insurance and mutual funds, the app will also allow customers, for the first time in the country, to buy instantly all kind of loans. The app will offer fully customized user experience, location-specific promotions, and offers/deals on shopping, dining, movies and entertainment.
Incidentally, the bank's Go Digital initiative is technology agnostic and serves smartphone users as well as basic feature phones that support internet browsing. For phones that do not support internet browsing, there's SMS banking and missed-call banking too.
I spoke to Nitin Chugh, Head – Digital Banking, HDFC Bank at the event, and he asserted that Bank Aap Ki Muththi Mein literally turns a mobile phone into a bank branch that is with you round-the-clock, wherever you are. He shared that while there are close to 900 million mobile users in India, just about 40 million of them use mobile banking. In 2014, 55% of the bank customers use Internet and mobile banking to complete their banking transactions, which is significantly higher than the corresponding figure in 2001 of just 3%.
As an HDFC Bank customer, I use the app almost on a daily basis and it's a pretty good app offering comprehensive capabilities at par with or better than other mobile banking apps in India. With the upcoming update, it will take mobile transactions to a different level altogether, and I look forward to it.