SimSim Mobile wallet was commercially launched today at an event in Karachi. The service was available to users as a beta for quite some time and had grabbed 10K-50K app installs before the official launch.
Described in simple words, SimSim is an Easypaisa like mobile account but all transactions are done via its mobile app and there are no retailers or outlets to deposit or withdraw funds.
You can transfer funds into your SimSim account from a variety of sources (such as bank accounts) and then consume funds using the app.
And if you want to cash out funds, you can do so through ATM machines (SimSim comes with ATM card) or IBFT (Online bank transfer) to any of your other bank accounts.
SimSim’s unique selling point is that it doesn’t charge for any transaction – except for sending funds to a bank account, which is charged at Rs. 8 per transaction.
So for instance if you are transferring funds from your SimSim account to any SimSim account or if you are paying a bill or paying a vendor, it’s all free.
Sending money to any bank account is also free as long as your transaction is less than Rs. 10,000 in value. Online transfers above 10K are charged at Rs. 8 per transaction.
Opening an Account
To create a SimSim account you have to download its app from the Play Store or Apple AppStore. Once installed, you just have to complete a sign-up form that will ask for your name, CNIC, father’s name and mother’s name.
After the sign-up wizard is completed, you are taken to your account with a home-screen that should look like following:
Once your account is created, you are offered to perform several functions that are mentioned in the above screen, such as:
- Add funds to your SimSim account (explained below)
- Send money to anyone (they can get these funds in their SimSim wallet, even if they don’t have one, they will be asked to create an account to get the funds. There’s no simple cashing out like Easypaisa)
- Get funds from someone
- Buy tickets (for movies etc.)
- Balance top up
- Pay bills (not all utility companies are on-board with SimSim yet, but this will get better with time)
- Buy vouchers (such as for Facebook, Netflix etc. They are selling $10 voucher for Rs. 1,300, $15 voucher for Rs. 1,900 and so on)
- Pay at restaurants, shops or to other SimSim users by scanning a QR code
Designwise, the app is a bit dated and the interface is fairly cluttered with small buttons and text. Not what you would expect from a modern app but let’s hope the developers improve the design and make it but more “touch optimised” than it currently is.
There are no retailers for SimSim
As mentioned before, if you want to add money into your SimSim account, you can not do that through any SimSim retailers or outlets. SimSim has not established a retail or sales network at all.
While SimSim has plans to capitalize on UBL Omni’s network and they do allow users to deposit funds to SimSim accounts through UBL Omni retailers, however, the company encourages users to use other channels to deposit funds into their SimSim accounts.
You can add money into your account through one of the following ways:
- Send money to your SimSim account from any bank (your bank’s standard IBFT charges may apply)
- Add money into your SimSim card through a debit or credit card (I didn’t recharge my account through CC because I wasn’t sure if the transmission was SSL secured or not)
- Add money into your SimSim through ATMs
- Ask any other SimSim user to send you the funds
- Add money from UBL Omni agents
Technically speaking, as soon as you open an account with SimSim, a new account with FINCA Microfinance Bank will be created. It comes with an 11 digit account number (your mobile number) or a 24 digit IBAN number.
With this account or IBAN number you can get funds from any bank with-in Pakistan or even abroad.
There’s no Cashing Out
You can not send funds to anyone like they do with Easypaisa. Meaning that if you want to send money to someone in hard cash, SimSim is not your thing.
With SimSim you can consume funds for shopping or paying bills or send them to a bank account from where you can take out the cash.
I Was Mislead
Here’s how you can send out funds to anyone (or yourself):
- Send funds to any SimSim user
- Send funds to any bank account in Pakistan
- Send funds to anyone with a mobile number
- Send funds to your other FINCA account.
I was trying to see how can I send funds to a mobile number. I was given this option to “Pay anyone” by just entering their mobile number. I entered the mobile number and sent Rs. 10 to test the flow.
The account number where I sent Rs. 10 was asked to open a SimSim mobile wallet to get the funds, unlike the impression I was given that these funds could be cashed out by the recipient.
But instead funds were withheld and recipient was asked to open a SimSim mobile wallet where he/she could use the funds.
Below are the text messages the recipient received:
I believe SimSim should communicate this to senders in a more transparent manner. It could face a backlash if people start sending money to mobile numbers only to find out that the receivers can’t get it until they sign-up for a new bank account.
The service has just launched today and I am hoping it will fill a gap created by the lack of any decent banking apps in Pakistan. While we are not entirely sure on how quickly Pakistanis can go cash-less, but if they want to — SimSim offers them an opportunity.
Since almost all sorts of transactions come without any charges, one can hope that adoption rate will pick-up sooner rather than later.
SimSim App comes with small hiccups though. For instance, my sign-up got rejected a few times due to a network error. Then it didn’t let me sign-in until I force stopped the app from settings (exactly like Easypaisa app).
But as I said above, the service has just launched today and I am hoping it will get more mature with time.