Kashmi is billed as “Singapore’s first and only social payment app” and according to the developers, it is set to revolutionise “the way that payments to friends are made in Singapore.”
Said Rakhil Fernando, CEO and Founder of Kashmi, “The Kashmi app is a simple, social way to share payments with friends. All you need is someone’s email address or phone number to send or request money instantly, for free.”
He added “You can even create and save groups to split bills and request money from multiple friends in one go or remind them when they have forgotten to pay you back.”
KEY FEATURES OF KASHMI
Fernando also pointed out some of the key features of the Kashmi app that makes it stand out from other similar social payment apps around the world.
He said “The app lets you not only send money but request money too. You can also create and save groups so that you can send out multiple requests in one click. And you can set reminders so that your friends can be gently prodded about dues. We also have a social payments feed.”
HOW THE IDEA OF KASHMI CAME ABOUT
According to Fernando, the idea of the Kashmi app had originally come about, because “we go out so often with our friends and almost never have cash or exact change in hand.”
Continued Fernando, “So this ends up in a never ending cycle of untraceable IOUs where, almost always, someone gets the short end of the stick. On our travels to the States, we noticed that literally everyone was using a mobile payment app called Venmo to share payments instantly in social situations. We loved the idea and wanted to bring something similar to Asia. There are just so many uses for an easy, convenient and instant tool for sharing payments with friends.”
And the target audience for the Kashmi app, according to Fernando, are typically students and working professionals.
He said, “These people tend to go out very often with their friends and exchange money often. So a tool for quick transfer of money, where you can request payments electronically – without having to endure an awkward in-person reminder, is quite useful.”
Continued Fernando, “But then again, anyone can use the application for reasons that may range from splitting a dinner bill to paying rent or accepting payments as a freelancer or a small merchant.”
INVITED TO TEST THE APP OVER DINNER WITH FRIENDS
I was invited recently to test out the Kashmi app over a dinner with a group of of my friends at the MEATliquor restaurant in Duxton, and the four of us split the bill using the Kashmi app.
INITIAL IMPRESSIONS OF KASHMI
A free download on the Apple and Android app stores, the initial process of downloading the Kashmi app prior to the dinner had been a pain-free experience that took less than a minute on my WiFi network.
And for me it was also relatively easy to create an account on the app – though one of my friends had some issues with Kashmi recognising his Yahoo email address at first. But upon his switching to a Gmail address though, things then went through for him without any issues.
At the dinner, we ordered a burger and a drink each, and also shared two side dishes – cheese fries and buffalo chicken wings.
My friends and I had a great time catching up and chatting over the dinner itself, and then after I had paid the bill using a credit card, my friends transfer of their payment to me through the app was completed within less than five minutes with no major problems.
Payment to merchants is currently not available yet through on the Kashmi app, though according to the app’s developers, having this feature is definitely in the works.
Though none of us had made any payments via Kashmi prior to the dinner, we all did not seem to have any issues in terms of finding the right buttons to pay me back for the dinner, using the credits that the Kashmi team had arranged for us.
It was also quite easy for me to accept payments from my friends in Kashmi – the payment request comes in the form of a small pop-up box that can easily be accepted or rejected. But the ‘accept’ and ‘reject’ buttons however, may have been spaced too close together though – so one with large fingers may accidentally push the wrong button.
After using the Kashmi app, my three friends had a few other comments (below), on the Kashmi app.
THE APP IS EASY TO USE
Said Grace Ng, 35, “The app is convenient as it uses the phone’s contact list. It’s also relatively easy to use and quite user-friendly.”
Added Pang On Tik, 45, who also shared Grace’s sentiments, “To me the app seems great for meet-up events where the host pays a large sum of money to organise the event, and the group members pay back to the host via Kashmi. It helps to easily monitor who has paid and who has not.”
He added, “It is also great to send money if I forget to bring my wallet and I need to pay my friends, but I still have some cash inside the Kashmi app.”
KEY BENEFITS OF KASHMI
There are some key benefits of using Kashmi, according to the app designers.
Said Fernando, “Your payments on Kashmi are absolutely instantaneous and you can transact with anyone, no matter what bank they belong to. Adding funds, transacting money and withdrawing back to your Singapore bank account take seconds and everything can be done straight from your mobile phone wherever you are.”
Fernando added “Unlike Internet or mobile banking, this system is built to address specific cases where friends want to pay friends – hence the simple interface, the social functions and the ability to send reminders or make group payments.”
NEGATIVE IMPRESSIONS OF KASHMI
But on the flip side though, as mentioned earlier, we all agreed that the app was a bit intrusive to some extent though because despite its convenience, it still displays Facebook-like news feeds showing exactly who has paid to whom. To be honest I was a bit taken aback by this feature myself when I first saw it – it’s something that I wasn’t really used to seeing.
Added Grace, “I thought that it’s quite a turn off to be able to see what all your friends have been paying – through the news feeds, and all. I wouldn’t want people to know what I have paid.”
She continued, “I’m also concerned at how secure the app is, as the app is able to access my contacts quite easily.”
But after a recent update, there had been some slight improvements.
As On Tik pointed out, “The first time I had downloaded the app, I was quite shocked I could see all my friends paying inside it. After the update, it looked better.”
But Fernando pointed out that the presence of the news feeds help to “add an element of fun to payments and remember or document the good times.” He said “It is true that not all users may like the Facebook-like news feeds. That is why users have the option to make their comments seen by everyone, just their friends or nobody at all.”
He added “Also transaction amounts are never displayed. The message on the payment feeds has two functions – it helps to remember what the payment was for, and adds an element of fun to the payments.”
However he believes that users may enjoy this feature more after the Kashmi team has done some more upgrades to it. These are still in the works though.
Said Fernando, “We will be adding more engaging features that allow for likes/comments/pictures to the payment feeds. And for those who still prefer not to use this option they can always keep their settings completely private.”
We were also quite concerned at the lack of passwords in the Kashmi app, as users will need to key in their bank and credit card details for withdrawal and requesting of money from their bank accounts.
Added On Tik, “There isn’t a password feature in Kashmi. So I can easily open the app and all my bank and credit card details are inside – this may be dangerous if the phone gets stolen.”
Lee Siu Siu, 43, shared On Tik’s sentiments. She explained, “I can’t find a password feature or an auto logout system in the app. All you need to do is to click it to access everything. So anyone with my phone can easily access this app.”
THE APP HAS LOTS OF POTENTIAL
But though I feel that the Kashmi app has room for improvements, I can certainly see the vast potential that it may have, in changing the nature of social payments to friends.
And Fernando summed up, “We want Kashmi to be ubiquitous. We want Kashmi to be so simple to use and so widely used that it becomes a verb – ‘Just Kashmi the money!’ – We also want payments to move out of the drab, cumbersome world of traditional banking and drag it into the vibrant millennial world of dynamic, mobile customer-centric experiences.”
He added “Payments, applications and financial services do not need to be relegated to a world of account numbers. They can and should be just as dynamic, personal, engaging and potentially more useful as tools found in any other sector.”