Indian Banking System + Mobile Wallets: A Fucked Up Combination

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Video Credit: Dbrand

Nowadays, most of the Indian’s are doing online transactions using Online Mobile Wallets, PhonePe, PayTM, Google Pay, etc. And it’s not because of the COVID-19 pandemic; there is a Digital movement going on in India, where Government is inspiring and giving a lot of freedom to the financial app developers.

This is a story of Indian Banking System + Mobile Wallets, which can entirely ruin your day if you don’t know how & when to use it, and I bet that most of the time, top of chain people don’t even know it.

I personally have been facing a lot of issues with the Mobile Wallets, and a recent transaction + conversation with the support team just made me go crazy.

Let’s start with when.

When

In this pandemic where a virus can be deadly upon contact, lots of people are avoiding cash/ going into ATMs (and let me tell you it’s not sanitized at all, even if it is, only God knows when).

I was purchasing two smartphones, (Realme C2 and Redmi 8A) and one headphone (Realme Buds 2) offline, with a total bill amount of Rs 15,299. The shop owner asked me whether I’ll be paying with cash or card, like almost all the time I replied saying, Card.

Believe me or not, some people in small-town still charge you extra for paying with Card. This type of thing happens all over India, and you can read a similar story here. Back to the story, the shop owner said that I’ll have to pay an extra 1% for debit cards and 1.5% for credit cards transaction.

I don’t usually like to argue with people with such a small mind, so I just asked them If they’ll accept any Mobile Wallet transaction and I got a positive response saying that he will accept Google Pay transaction.

Here comes the how part.

How

I usually face a lot of issues with Google Pay transactions. In my case, 9 out of 10 transactions always fail (SBI + HDFC bank connected), and there will be a long set back for the refund, and sometimes you don’t even know if you’ll get a refund or the amount will get credited to receivers account.

To give you an idea of how often Google Pay Fails, I did some test transaction and all of them failed.

So, I told the shop owner that I’ll do a direct bank transfer, but there is a twist also. You can do a quick transfer for Rs 10,000 at a time using SBI net banking or if you have ICICI or HDFC, you’ll have to wait at least 30 mins to do a transaction to a new beneficiary.

After thinking for a minute or two, I decided that I’ll do the transaction using PhonePe’s To Account Money Transfer option. Where you get a limit of total Rs 100,000/day with UPI, you can read more about UPI here.

Got the bank details from the shop owner and proceed with the transaction of Rs 15,299. I carefully checked the details and used the HDFC bank to do the transaction. Transaction Failed, as you can see in the screenshot below; that’s the straight-up result I got by using HDFC bank.

HDFC Bank Transaction Failed Phonepe
Screenshot (a): Transaction Failed, PhonePe using HDFC bank

I do have SBI bank connected to my PhonePe account as well, so without spending any more time; I tried doing the payment using SBI bank. Now, waiting for the confirmation message to show the shop owner. I got an SMS saying that the money got deducted from my bank, OK. 30 seconds – payment pending, 1-minute payment pending, 2-minutes payment pending.

After waiting for about 2 minutes I tried contacting the support by clicking the (?) Contact PhonePe Support option and I think their bot bombed my Help request with the automated reply, check the screenshot below.

As you can see it on the screenshot above, the automated message (a freaking bot) told me to wait 4 minutes and I should get the confirmation. Obviously, 4 minutes passed and it gave me a few options to choose (with what exactly I need help with), and I choose the option Why is my transaction pending?

The Scene: I’m waiting at the shop to show the shop owner the screenshot that the payment has gone through so that I can grab the things and go home. But PhonePe is telling me to wait for 1 hour (obviously at the shop maybe) and I’ll get an update.

This is when and how the Indian banking system + mobile wallets combination gets dangerous. The Indian Govt and the Wallet developers are reaching to the shop owners and inspiring them to use these Apps and when the transaction fails, there is no one to give you an immediate response. You can see how quickly 1 hour became you’ll get a response within 24 hours.

The shop owner never trusts a pending transaction and going to give you the goods. So I decided to pay him with cash thinking that the transaction will get failed and I’ll get a refund. I paid the shop owner Rs 15,299 and left with my new gadgets. Also, I updated the PhonePe support team about the situation and told them to cancel the payment because it been already paid, via cash.

What happened next?

Long story short, I got a message from PhonePe after two days saying that the payment has gone through and they can’t do anything about it. At this point, I just wanted to punch the guy whos responding to an urgent message after two freaking days.

As you can see in the screenshots above, the Support Team doesn’t even read your replies, they don’t even understand the concert. They just send you a template of reply, that is common for any fucking support ticket.

Luckily the shop is about 10Kms away from my home, I’m considering the situation as lucky thinking that I didn’t make the transaction while traveling on a random shop. I have contacted the shop owner and he confirmed that he got the money, but he said that money might get refunded from his account even after getting credited to his account. I know it’s stupid but considering the IQ of support team like PhonePe, I’ll say he is OK.

I’m yet to receive a refund, which the shop owner will give me. He told me to wait for 2 days, hopefully, I’ll get my money back.

Moral of the Story

Don’t use any Indian Mobile Wallets if you care about your money. Or, if you have a lot of free time and want to spend time doing something completely nonsense, do what I did.

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