mPay Embarrasses JK Bank; People Still Withdrew Rs 497 Cr On Saturday

SRINAGAR: Launched to “delight” customers and make their transactions “safer and easier”, the mobile application of Jammu and Kashmir Bank is not working, leaving customers of the bank aghast.

Smartphones have replaced a lot of things – radio, tape-recorder, TV, telephone, calculator, thermometer, camera, calendar, book, wristwatch and to a large extent bank and the wallet. It is a window to information as newspapers have been completely replaced. The traditional matchmaker is on the margins now.

Reports received from across Jammu and Kashmir reveal that the application is down for the last many days. The snag is more noticeable as the customers out for shopping ahead of Eid were embarrassed at the payment counters and many had to leave shops empty-handed. The crisis coupled with the malfunctioning of several ATMs led to chaos and severe criticism of the bank and its claim of being innovative in digital banking.

With few days left for Eid, a religiously important and largest festival for Muslims, the system breakdown of the bank is seen as a “complete failure” of the people at the helm of affairs. Jammu Kashmir Bank, it may be recalled here, is the main financial backbone of Kashmir society as it manages almost two-thirds of the entire banking sector.

Five-Year-Old App

Launched almost five years ago, the application known as MPay was introduced as an “innovation” aimed to facilitate banking needs digitally. Later in 2021, the application was upgraded to a “new” and “better” version, known as MPay Delight and dedicated to the public by the then Chairman and CEO, RKChibber.

“I feel really delighted to launch ‘J&K Bank mPay Delight’ officially – markedly an improved version of ‘J&K Bank mPay’,” Chibber had famously said. “I believe it will delight our customers and make their daily banking transactions safer and easier while providing them a range of services like payment of utility bills and donations, service requests and other important accounts related information”.

But as per the customers of the bank, this app mostly remains “out of the order” and completely goes “down” when there is an increased load.

“If the bank knew that they cannot manage their customer base digitally, they should have never come out with this application,” said Muneer Ahmad, a resident of Srinagar’s uptown locality. “This is an absolute embarrassment to trust this app.”

With a dedicated Chief Technology Officer and other qualified engineers in the team, the bank has struggled to support its digital initiatives, marking a huge difference in comparison to other banks.

“We are compelled to use applications of other banks despite being primary account holders of JK Bank,” said a senior government officer. “They fail us at the most crucial moment.”

The failure of the application has added to the slump that Kashmir markets exhibited on the weekend.

Digital Expert

A few months ago, as Bank had changed of the guard at the top position, there was a hope that the new MD and CEO, Baldev Prakash having worked at the top position of SBI in Digital and Transaction banking would manage this segment in a better way, but insider reports reveal that “there is little progress on the front.”

Baldev Prakash takes charge as J&K Bank’s first MD & CEO

The “failure” to deliver has gone viral over social media platforms. “Such a shame that @JandKBank ATM services are down on the eve of Eid festivities. Its mobile app MPay is also down,” tweeted Imran Nabi, NC’s state spokesman.

Another user wrote, “When it’s the time of good business on Eid, @JandKBank fails to provide services.”

Terming the bank as “in competitive,” a user on Twitter wrote, “in era of digital world @JandKBank shows how incompetent they’re when it comes to online payment systems. I am left with few bucks in my wallet and unable to make payments.”

There were suggestions given by multiple users to “withdraw” the app from and “apologise” to the people.

An employee of the bank talking to Kashmir Life said that they had to face a tough time in the branch while managing rush and angry customers. “Customers were angry and shouted at us as MPay did not work, knowing little that people at branch level have no role in its working.”

Another employee said, the failure to support the digital services “fail the concept of digitalisation”, adding “better is not to sell the product if we are not able to deliver.”

Bank Speaks

“We sincerely regret the inconvenience that our valued customers faced because of the technical glitch,” a spokesman of the bank told Kashmir Life. “Our team is working and we hope the issue will be completely resolved by later tonight.”

The spokesman had his side of the story, which is not uninteresting. “Till 8 pm today, there were 298984 transactions using mPay and it involved a whopping Rs 248.62 crore,” the spokesman said. “In addition to this, there were 276000 successful transactions using Debit cards on JK Bank ATM which resulted in case dispensation of Rs 188 crore.”

There were purchases using the JK Bank POS machines. Saturday saw 1,40,000 purchases that involved Rs 14.50 crore. “We also dispensed cash of Rs 28.20 crore for our debit cards that customers used on ATMs not owned by us. These were 58000 transactions.”

The spokesman admitted that the app slows down in huge load and it did impact a section of the transaction “but not all”. He asserted that it will be up and running tonight.

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