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This Singaporean Start-Up Makes Payment As Easy As Keying In That Facepalm Emoji

HitKey enables peer-to-peer and merchant payments within any app that brings up a keyboard

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BY Tricia V. Morente - 04 Jul 2017

PHOTO CREDIT: Getty Images

There’s now a proactive solution to one of the most awkward conversation starters: bringing up the topic of borrowed money.

Whether you’re on the loaner’s or borrower’s side of the fence, asking—or, worse, being asked—for money owed the other party is never a conversation people look forward to having.

For borrowers who simply do not have the time to deposit the money in a bank, Singaporean mobile payment technology provider HitKey offers a convenient solution. The start-up founded by Aditya Haripurkar recently launched the HitKey Payment Keyboard on iOS, which enables iPhone users to send instant payments to friends and online businesses within apps like WhatsApp, Facebook Messenger, Instagram, or Gmail.

“Any application that brings up a keyboard, you have an opportunity to pay right there,” explains Haripurkar.

Conversational commerce

Before you get any idea that HitKey is yet another mobile wallet or a chatbot provider, put those thoughts to bed.

“It’s none of those,” explains Haripurkar. Chatbots would require banks and other payment providers to integrate with such communication platforms as WhatsApp and Viber, but the HitKey keyboard, which is integrated into Apple, and, soon, Android APIs, “is ubiquitous in a mobile OS or any communication application essentially,” says Haripurkar.

Meaning, it’s as easy as you downloading that emoji keyboard many moons ago and easily accessing it every time you feel the need to send out that facepalm emoji.

Here’s how it works. By simply toggling the HitKey Payment Keyboard on your iPhone, you can access all the important payments function of HitKey without having to switch between apps. It also enables you to shop online as the keyboard allows third party apps to incorporate the keyboard functions in their apps. “This enables a faster mode of payment for e-commerce platforms like Carousell, for example,” says Haripurkar.

Cashless economy

Currently present in Singapore, there are currently two sides to HitKey. Apart from the keyboard toolkit, which Haripurkar points out “enables payment providers to have their presence felt in every popular application,” the company also developed a payments app that allows peer-to-peer and merchant payment.

According to Haripurkar, who before HitKey had spent a great deal of his career in the investment banking sector, the ultimate vision is really a cashless future. “We want to create a community of users that facilitate the widespread adoption of cashless payments,” he states, pointing out that what got him into building a payments business was that, “even in Singapore where fintech has really gained traction, the uptake of cashless transactions was not as high as people expected.”

One of the ways HitKey is encouraging users to go cashless is by delivering the same experience people have in popular apps like SnapChat and Instagram, this time in the payment setting. It looks like his idea is right on the money, as one of the things his team has discovered during the course of their development is that “there is a delight factor with payments among users with the keyboard. Delight isn’t something one would necessarily associate with payments, so that’s a positive thing for us,” says Haripurkar.

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