Tuesday, 12 January 2010

Google needs help!

Google Adwords urgently needs a better payment gateway in India. They are using Times Direcpay which has taken Adwords payments from my bank account and others and not yet credited it to Adwords. I made another payment and even that is not credited. More users are reporting the same issue.

Many online merchants like mobikwik rely on google adwords to get new users everyday. But issues like above make me wish there was a reasonable alternative. ( No, Bing and Yahoo paid search are both a joke. On Yahoo, I have to dial a number to get in touch with a sale rep just to get started. Did anyone tell them its 21st century, 2nd decade? Bing is better but their ad format is funny. )

Why don’t we all send a “Get Well Soon” e-card to Google Adwords India? But wait, there is no contact ( email/phone/anything) info to get in touch with a Google support rep for anything.  I faced the same issue of a faceless Google when mobikwik hosted accounts were disabled with no warning and took more than 1.5 months to get re-enabled.

Google needs to understand that Customer Support cannot be automated. Help Forums are not a substitute for customer service.

Update : As of 13 Jan 10 am, my payments have been credited yet I got a reply from the google adwords contact asking me to send the reference number for my payments so he can address the issue. Looks like folks inside Google are out of Sync with one another.

Download Mobikwik’s Mobile Recharge API

Now, you can download Mobile Recharge API from the API tab above.

There are two documents : API.doc which gives details of the the http based API and mapping.xls which maps the operators and circles to specific ID’s.

This is the first time in India that mobile recharge API is available for free. And openly.

This API can be used in personal as well as commercial aspects. However, the terms and conditions and privacy policy of mobikwik still apply.

Use Cases:

The API can be used to develop applications for social networks like facebook and twitter or to create your own mobile recharge site or contests where you can sponsor free talk time.

Wednesday, 06 January 2010

Schedule a Mobile Recharge with MobiKwik

Lets look at 3 scenarios that I could think of that describe your situation when you may need mobile recharges.

Scenario 1 -

You roughly know how much you recharge for every month. But its a drag since you still need to come online or go to a shop or do something to get the same stuff every month or week.

Scenario 2 -

You are going to travel for some time and it would be hard for you to get recharge from a shop or internet connectivity. Or maybe you wont have the time since you are busy shooting ( with a camera) wild animals or living in a tree house in central India or attending a conference while on roaming.

Scenario 3 -

Your old mother or grandmother needs Rs 100 recharge every week but even though you can use mobikwik to recharge for her ( as an Add-On number) , you sometimes forget and she sometimes has no balance to call you that she’s already low on balance.

In all these scenarios, the ideal solution would be to have recharges scheduled for future dates. And this is what Mobikwik has brought for you.

Here is how Schedule a Recharge works!

Go to Kwik Recharge tab on the header and it will show you the schedule recharge page.

1) You can schedule recharges for as primary and add-on numbers.

2) Mobikwik will send you an SMS reminder 1,2 or 3 days before recharge .

3) You can cancel scheduled recharges at any time.

4) Ofcourse, your mobikwik balance needs to be sufficient to support the recharge.

Schedule mobile recharge on MobiKwik.com


November 2009

Tuesday, 24 November 2009

Mobile banking : an urban myth ?

Banks have come a long way from the days of smiling staff to ATM’s to internet and now on to the mobile. The furious mobile subscriber growth in last few years in India has meant that finally an electronic device other than television remote has found its way into the hands of Indians.  I mean hundreds of millions of Indians.

India also has one of the lowest penetration of bank accounts. I would guess less than 100 million individuals in India have bank accounts. Access to credit can be a big enabler for getting out of poverty as the experience of micro-finance  has shown in Bangladesh ( Mohammad Yunus and Grameen bank) and now in India. However, banking is not only about credit. It can dramatically increase the efficiency of government projects in rural areas . For example, NREGA can be much more successful if the workers have bank accounts. The government can transfer the money directly to their account with no middlemen keeping their cut.

So, marrying the two should mean that hundreds of millions of people can get access to banks, right? Wrong!

Here’s why.

1) Most of the phones where mobile banking can really be useful are owned by people who already have alternative channels to access banking like internet/ATM/bank branch. By all means , these alternative channels score much higher on user experience today.

2) Most of the people who *really* need mobile banking do not have phones which are capable enough. Also, we are talking about people who can barely read English. And can barely learn to open and read an SMS.  And they want to change their mobile phone and prepaid SIM every time there’s a new deal in the market. ( India may soon have the biggest mobile resale market).

*Result* : All mobile payment solutions ( paymate/mchek/banks) in India are only serving folks who already have bank accounts. There are only 25 million mobiles registered for any form of mobile banking. And only 7% ( about 1.5 million) are active users. No wonder, I have not heard anyone in my circle ever hear checking their bank statements on the mobile.