India's home-grown messaging platform Hike has launched its wallet feature. With this feature, the company has beaten its bigger rival WhatsApp which too is speculated to be working on introducing wallet functionality to its messenger app.
Hike has launched its Wallet in association with Yes Bank. The wallet service launched by Hike is based on government-backed unified payments interface (UPI). The wallet feature will be available in Hike 5.0. The update is claimed to be one of the biggest updates so far for the Hike's mobile messaging app.
WhatsApp is like the default messaging app for almost all smartphone users in India. The app boasting of over a billion users offers some nifty features that has most of us hooked. However, if you take a look in, there are some true rivals that you can consider. Many of these apps offer great features that are still missing in WhatsApp.
You can consider the following list of 10 alternatives of WhatsApp:
Hike is said to be India's first home-grown messaging platform. The messaging app reports to possess millions of users in India. Hike is available on smartphones running Android, iOS and Windows Phone. It tries to move ahead from Facebook-owned instant messenger WhatsApp, courtesy its better sticker collection, hidden chat feature and limited 'free messaging' to non-Hike members. The company recently launched new features like Stories, Camera and Live Filters for India.
Both FB Messenger and WhatsApp now belongs to the same Facebook family, Facebook Messenger over the past few the years has made rapid strides in the instant messaging segment. The app features a sea of stickers, has some simple but quite addictive games, and some small customization options as well. There's also auto reply option. Facebook Messenger is available on all major platforms. The messaging platform recently got a new look. The update introduces new tabs to the top of Messenger’s main screen.
Line app is widely known as Facebook of Japan. The app reportedly has 214 million current users and is believed as a rival for WhatsApp messenger. The Line app offers features like timeline, coupons, video snapping. There's also support for sharing of files up to 1GB, a feature missing in WhatsApp. Line recently said that it will soon add a personal digital assistant like Apple Siri, Microsoft Cortana and Amazon Alexa to its app.
BlackBerry Messenger or BBM is available on Android and iOS devices and uses a BlackBerry ID and a unique PIN to sign-in users and connect them in a secure manner. The Canadian company recently announced the availability of a new portal for artists who create BBM stickers. With the new BBM Sticker Factory, anyone can now offer stickers for review.
Another WhatsApp rival is encrypted messaging app Telegram. The app too offers a number of features that are missing in WhatsApp. The app includes option to self-destruct a message in seconds and can also let users share file sizes of up to 1.5GB. Telegram additionally has super groups that can feature up to 1,000 users along with Telegram Bots, gif support and more. It is free and available on all major app stores, Google Play and App store. Telegram recently announced a new service called Telesco.pe. It lets users watch video messages from public Telegram channels.
Japanese app Viber is another rival to WhatsApp. It is a popular messaging and VoIP app. The app offers features like Pinned Chat and free phone calls functionality. The app also lets users make video calls and exchange photos and messages between mobile devices and desktop computers just like WhatsApp. In early February, Viber app got support for Ephemeral Messaging. Later that month, it got another update which added a feature called Public Accounts that allows users to connect with their retailers and brands. Japanese MNC Rakuten acquired Viber in 2014 in a deal worth $900 million.
The instant messaging app WeChat is one of the biggest rivals to WhatsApp, with reportedly almost 938 million users. The app has a large user base in China and is growing in other regions as well. WeChat, is owned by Tencent Holdings and is popularly known as Weixin in China. The company claims that there are about 200,000 third-party developers for its platform. Besides offering regular chatting features, it has some games too. It also has support for short voice messages and video-calling feature like WhatsApp. The WeChat app also has a payment feature for e-commerce, something that is missing in WhatsApp.
Microsoft’s Skype service can also be thought as a rival for WhatsApp, though its focus lies largely on video and audio calling. Users can even perform group video calls easily and chat using bunch of stickers and emojis. Skype for Windows 10 recently got new updates with improvements to screen sharing. This means users can now share their PC's audio while sharing screen on a call.
Google Allo is search giant's rival to WhatsApp. Launched in 2016, the application’s main strength is the inclusion of Google Assistant. Users can send contacts, search for places, items and everything else right from inside the app itself. Google's messaging app Allo recently got an emoji upgrade. With this, users will now be able to tap a button and turn a selfie into a sticker. Google Assistant recently got support for French and Spanish in Alloo app.
The KakaoTalk isn’t a very well-known app in India, yet is another strong rival to WhatsApp. The app is the dominat messaging app in South Korea. Available in multiple languages, the instant messaging app boasts of several features including video calling. The app also has animated emoticons. Also, unlike WhatsApp, KakaoTalk app doesn’t need user's mobile number but works on KaTalk ID. The app is available on smartphones running Android, iOS, Bada OS and Windows Phone. Its Korean messaging app operator Kakao Corp is the second-largest on Kosdaq by market capitalization.
Hike is first among them
The company is also reported to be in talks with some e-commerce players and cab-hailing services like Flipkart, Amazon, Zomato, Ola and Uber for integrating its wallet solution as a payment option.
"With more than 100 million registered users currently on Hike Messenger, this launch makes Hike the largest UPI based platform in India," the company said in a statement. Hike has partnered with Yes Bank to enable this wallet. As part of UI, this wallet has an option of transferring money in different envelopes coupled with a personalized message. Dubbed as Blue Packets, these envelopes can be sent to an individual or a group and come with an expiration of 24 hours. Another feature of this wallet that users can recharge their prepaid phones and pay their postpaid bill using Hike.
As of now, with the wallet service Hike users can do free and instant bank-to-bank transfers to other mobile users, including even those who are not on Hike messenger.
Apart from this, the messenger app has also introduced a slew of new features. The app now comes integrated with Magic Selfie, a machine learning-based beautification feature, App Themes that consist of 11 themes including a dedicated dark theme called 'Night' that claims to reduce user's smartphone screen's glare. The company has also brought back the Timeline feature along with Stories.
With the launch of Hike 5.0, Hike has also reduced the app size to just 25MB as well as improved security with the addition of 128-bit SSL encryption.
Commenting on the launch Kavin Bharti Mittal, founder and CEO, Hike Messenger said, "Hike 5.0 is the biggest update we've released in the history of Hike. To build 5.0 version, we've worked closely with over 100 of our top hikers. It's been built by our users for our users. With App themes, Night theme and Magic Selfie Hike 5.0 is packed with some incredibly personal touches that are meant to delight our users. You can personalize your Hike world With Hike 5.0."