While you can ask and get details relating to your account via WhatsApp, you can’t carry out any transactions

You’ve chatted with friends and relatives for hours together using the app. As an added sweetener, you can now use WhatsApp  to reach out to banks for basic queries. Your requests are addressed on a real-time basis.

WhatsApp banking services are now offered by Kotak Mahindra Bank, Saraswat Bank, HDFC Bank, AU Small Finance Bank, etc. They help their customers receive updates and avail services via the messaging platform.

Here we seek to address some common queries about WhatsApp banking services.

Getting started with WhatsApp banking

To avail WhatsApp banking services, you first need to give a missed call to the relevant number provided by the bank on its website. This number would be different from the phone banking number of the bank. It is mandatory to give a missed call from the registered mobile number with the bank to avail banking services.

By giving a missed call, you basically provide your consent to the bank for using this service. Then, you will receive a welcome text message from the bank’s WhatsApp number. You should save this WhatsApp number of the bank in your contact list. To initiate a chat through WhatsApp for any banking service, you need to send a message typing ‘Hi’. Further, as per the on-screen instruction, you may type ‘1’ or ‘2’ and so on as per your requirement (refer to the image given below).

Which services can be availed via WhatsApp?

After availing WhatsApp banking services, you would receive alert messages/notifications from your bank through WhatsApp instead of getting them as SMS.

Says, Deepak Sharma, Chief Digital Officer, Kotak Mahindra Bank, “The familiarity and simplicity of the WhatsApp messaging platform makes it easy for customers to interact with the bank and get answers to queries in a seamless and convenient manner.”

You can also chat with your bank to get details of your cards, fixed deposits, put forward requests for mini statement, pre-approved loans, etc. For instance, if you want to know outstanding balance or reward points on your credit card, then type a phrase “credit card outstanding” or “credit card reward points” followed by the last four digit of your credit card (refer to the image).

Similarly, if you have an FD and wish to know the brief details of your investment, then send a message with: “Show my FD summary.” You will get a message with details of your all fixed deposits with the bank – the principal, rate of interest and maturity date. The phrases to be used vary from bank to bank. You will get these phrases from your bank’s website.

While you can ask and get details relating to your account via WhatsApp, you can’t carry out any transactions such as funds transfer and bill payment.

Charges for the facility

Banks do not charge anything for availing WhatsApp banking services. This service is provided by the bank to resolve queries from customers who may or may not be the bank’s clients, in real time. Also, for the bank, this service reduces the load on its branches and the phone banking division.

Safety and risks 

WhatsApp banking is safe because all messages are secured with end-to-end encryption. Also, your account information is not shared with any person. You do not need to enter any confidential information such as PIN or password while messaging on WhatsApp because it does not offer any transaction facilities.

In case your mobile gets lost, anti-social elements can get access to your banking data/information on WhatsApp which can lead to identity theft. You should notify your bank immediately if you observe any suspicious activity in your account.

What happens if you lose your phone?

In case of loss of mobile device, you should immediately deactivate your WhatsApp account by sending an email with a phrase “Lost/Stolen: Please deactivate my account” in the body and subject of the email to support@whatsapp.com .You need to include your phone number in the body. The phone number should be in international format. For instance, if your registered mobile number in India is 9876543210, you need to enter your mobile number as +919876543210 in the email. This way, your WhatsApp account will be deactivated immediately and a thief can’t misuse the WhatsApp banking service.

Unfortunately, you can’t deactivate your WhatsApp banking service using net banking/branch visit/ phone banking facility of the bank. The alternative is a bit lengthy. First, you need to apply for another SIM card from your mobile operator. Then, you would have to register for WhatsApp from another mobile handset. So, automatically, the previous WhatsApp account from the lost mobile handset will get deactivated.

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