Even after multiple delays, Namaste Pay is still a mess

Namaste Pay Mobile Wallet Launched in Nepal Digital Money
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Smartphones have become the go-to device for many of us for our monetary transactions. The main reason behind it being their ease of use, the growing popularity of digital wallets in Nepal, and the pandemic-enforced lockdown. However, a new mode of payment based on the “mobile money” concept called Namaste Pay is now official, having been in the works for quite some time.

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What is this mobile money anyway?

Basically, it is a technology through which one can store, receive, and send money using a mobile phone. Usually, the mobile network operator or another entity offers this service. And no, you don’t need a bank account for this. Its only pre-requisite is that you should own a basic mobile set. It is different from mobile banking in the sense that you don’t actually need a separate application for this.

Instead, it uses your mobile number as your account number. Furthermore, such methods of digital transactions are generally cheaper and hassle-free. As a matter of fact, in many countries, mobile money has overtaken the traditional banking system.

Namaste Pay (Mobile Money) in Nepal

And now, Nepal Digital Payment Company (NDPC) has finally launched the “Namaste Pay” mobile money application. NDPC is an associate company of Nepal Telecom. To note, it is jointly funded by Nepal Telecom and Rastriya Banijya Bank.

Talking about Namaste Pay, the service received approval for mobile money from Nepal Rastra Bank back in March 2021. The app was supposed to be launched alongside the Nagarik app on the occasion of National ICT Day 2021 a few months ago. However, it was delayed due to some technical issues.

Namaste Pay has debuted today with a paid-up capital of Rs. 400 million, which is the biggest for any operational mobile wallet in Nepal. As it’s based on mobile money, it relies on a user’s mobile number for account registration and authentication.

A separate account will be maintained for each number, which will be free of Telecommunication Service Charge (TSC) and any kind of tax. This particular account will be responsible for Namaste Pay’s transactions. While multiple mobile wallets are offering offline transactions, Namaste Pay stands out as it uses USSD code instead.

Better compatibility, safety

It is safer than SMS that some of the mobile wallets use for offline mode. You will be able to pay for services like mobile recharge, internet, water, and electricity using Namaste Pay. There’s a mobile app for Android users available already, but it’s in the Beta stage for now. On the other hand, iOS users are gonna have to wait a little longer for the Namaste Pay app.

But like I mentioned earlier, it is entirely accessible without any mobile app. As a result, simply dialing “*500#” lets you register an account. Then, simply following the on-screen instructions will do. However, we wished this process had the Nepali language option—or if it was the default language settings considering Namaste Pay’s mainstream target market.

To note, the per-transaction limit when using Namaste Pay’s services through the USSD code method is Rs. 5,000 for now. But we expect that to change sometime in the future.

Namaste Pay: Initial thoughts

Our initial experience with Namaste Pay has been a disappointing one. Currently, we are not been able to sign in to the app. We downloaded it on a couple of Android phones only to be greeted with a blank white screen before the app eventually crashed. Similarly, trying out the USSD method didn’t amount to much either. We were constantly redirected to the registration window and nothing more.

  • Also, check out how to recover lost/stolen phones. [Nepali]