Published on April 11th, 2017 | by Bilal Sulehri0
SIMSIM Makes Mobile Wallet a Reality in Pakistan [Review]
The concept of e-wallet and Mobile Wallet was an alien term for most of Pakistanis. I remember students having difficulty to grasp why would people need e-wallets while teaching them e-commerce. It seems that the fintech services sector in Pakistan has finally taken off.
It is interesting to note that majority of Pakistanis live in areas where banking services are either not accessible or they can only be accessed after undergoing a lot of travel and hassle. Moreover, lack of literacy makes accessing such services even more difficult. Almost all Banks provide mobile applications now but customers can’t get a mobile account unless they have a banking account.
Role of e-wallets and other such applications gains huge importance here as these apps (preferably localized versions) can enable majority of the populace to access services they were not even aware of. Add to it the fact that common man can get services like bank account, transfers, bank statements and even insurance right in their palm, without leaving the premises of their home.
Many companies have already identified the gap and are partnering with financial institutions to launch services and applications like Easy Paisa, Jazz Cash and SIMSIM which bring branch-less banking and e-wallets accessible for Pakistani citizens. SIMSIM is a mobile wallet application which has been developed by Finja in association with Finca Bank.
Finja is a startup founded by Qasif Shahid, Monis Rahman and Umer Munawar last year. It has raised $1 Million in seed funding round led by Stockholm based Vostok Emerging Finance.
SIMSIM is currently in exclusive beta phase and can be downloaded from Play Store & itunes. SIMSIM lets its users make real-time payments through multiple payment methods. These include; direct p2p payments, QR based payments, card based payments and even transferring your money to bank accounts. Let’s see how SIMSIM works:
List of SIMSIM’s features is given below:
- Make payments through QR codes
- View your Wallet & Account balances
- View recent transactions
- Manage funds
- Send money to; SIMSIM users, FINCA Accounts and other Banks via IBFT
- Manage funds between your Wallet and FINCA Account
- Pay Mobile Bills and purchase Top-Ups
- Pay Utility Bills
- Pay Multiple Online Bills
- Card management (Activate, change PIN, block card)
Team SIMSIM were cool enough to give us some credits on #LahoreEat2017 so that we could check out how it worked. We have summarized our experience so that you can get a complete picture of how things work with the mobile wallet.
Scan & Pay
QR codes were placed at various vendors stalls and we got 40% discount as we scanned and paid to the vendors directly through app, without the hassle of taking any cash out of our pocket. Payments were received by vendors within a few seconds and we were also able to save the payment slips.
FINJA is promoting its mobile wallet by offering attractive discounts, which not only entices buyers towards installing the app and saving their hard earned money (or pocket money) as well as helps businesses attract more customers. We saw this model work first-hand at #LahoreEat as everyone wanted to avail discounts of up to 40% by installing app on their mobile.
Here is a video of me trying out SIMSIM scan & pay at #LahoreEat2017 | Video Courtesy: Zohair Chohan
— Pakorbit (@Pakorbit) April 6, 2017
Seamless Bill Payments
We paid mobile postpaid bill and topped-up balance on a prepaid SIM within a minute or so. Fetching postpaid bill is a hassle in most of the online services, but SIMSIM aced it and there was no problem whatsoever.
Bank transfer is as simple as it gets with SIMSIM. Interestingly, it only deducted 1 Ruppee as transaction charges and the amount was instantly credited in the bank account.
A Few Things to Sort Out
As the app is still in its exclusive beta phase, so it has it bumps and glitches. SIMSIM sometimes takes a bit longer to load and the e-statement request initially showed an error. When we tried again, it worked but we received an e-statement days after the request was sent. Similarly, the user interface needs some brushing up.
SIMSIM offers a refreshing perspective among the mobile wallet applications in Pakistan and is a welcome addition as it aims to eliminate transaction costs for customers. The ability to receive and send payments without having to open a banking account involving a lot of paperwork can be a game changer and such financial prowess, if harnessed rightly, can give a boost to our cottage industry and provide lower and lower middle class households opportunities of financial and social uplift.