Business – Atul Karmarkar.Com http://www.atulkarmarkar.com Around Pune, Technology, Startups, Investing, Food Sat, 27 Jan 2018 13:45:57 +0000 en-US hourly 1 3411319 3 delayed orders in 5 days – Amazon is slipping http://www.atulkarmarkar.com/amazon-order-delayed/ http://www.atulkarmarkar.com/amazon-order-delayed/#respond Tue, 18 Oct 2016 04:14:11 +0000 http://www.atulkarmarkar.com/?p=3946 “Amazon order delayed” – never thought I’d see this, or feel they’re slipping up. Been a very satisfied customer of […]

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“Amazon order delayed” – never thought I’d see this, or feel they’re slipping up. Been a very satisfied customer of Amazon for a VERY long time now, and have never faced any major issues. However, 3 delayed orders in 5 days and the subsequent experience with their customer care on chat has taken some of the shine off all that previous good experience.

Amazon Order Delayed

Order # 1: Placed on 04-Oct, was to be delivered on Wednesday, 12-Oct, in spite of being in Pune since 09-Oct. Status in the tracker showed as “Out for delivery” and “Getting closer” the entire day.

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However, no delivery till evening, and then at 8pm there is a message saying delivery will happen between 13th and 16th Oct. No reason given. Contacted them on chat and the customer care executive was apologetic, said it wouldn’t happen again. Item is delivered the next day, on Thursday. Sign of things to come? You bet.

Order # 2: Delivery date was on Saturday, 15-Oct . Exactly like the above, status in the tracker showed as “Out for delivery” and “Getting closer” the entire day. No delivery till 10pm, so I initiated a chat with the Amazon Customer Care. I also mentioned that I hoped delivery would not be attempted after 10pm. I was assured it would happen the next day, with the usual apologies. When I wake up on 16-Oct, I find that delivery was attempted at 11.41pm the previous night – which courier company in their right mind goes about delivering packages at midnight?!

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In all, I’ve chatted with almost SIX of these representatives, each of them apologising for the inconvenience and assuring the item would definitely be delivered the next day. One guy from the “Escalation team” actually had the gall to suggest the delays were due to the “holiday season” and they would ensure the delivery person called me before the delivery to ensure the time was convenient (nobody ever called). Even as I was chatting with this person, he goes and updates the status as below, saying “Rescheduled by customer” which was crazy, and he said it was system generated when I questioned him about it.

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Current status: Still haven’t received this item.

Order # 3: Delivery date was Monday, 17-Oct. Yet again, the tracker showed “Out for delivery” in the morning. By afternoon, there’s even a mobile number of the delivery person mentioned. Awesome, right? Oh wait. When there’s no delivery till 7pm, I finally called the number – only to be told “Wrong Number” after which he cut the call. An hour later, around 8pm, I get a notification saying the delivery is rescheduled as “customer wasn’t available” – which was incredulous because half an hour ago, at 7.30pm, TWO other items from Amazon itself were delivered. Much later, the tracker is updated to say “Delivery attempted at 9.41pm” – obviously, another lie since I was very much at home. Chatting with the customer care rep again wasn’t of any use.

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Current status: Still haven’t received this item.

The customer service responses are standard and not helpful at all, each agent parroting out the same lines, and blaming the courier company for the mess up. There is no sync between the so called tracker and what the ground reality is. “Out for delivery” used to be a guarantee that delivery would happen that day – sadly, it no longer is.

While I completely understand delays can and will happen and nobody is infallible, I am losing my patience at the way Amazon is managing these logistics issues and the sheer lack of clarity, communication and coordination on display here. If the order is delayed, tell me so upfront. Don’t say it’s “Out for delivery” and “Getting closer” and then not deliver on time. It’s like one hand doesn’t know what the other is doing.

Ironically, I recently signed up for Amazon Prime. Maybe I should cancel that with all the other pending orders and just take my business elsewhere.

 

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One year at Walnut http://www.atulkarmarkar.com/one-year-at-walnut/ http://www.atulkarmarkar.com/one-year-at-walnut/#respond Tue, 04 Oct 2016 03:48:16 +0000 http://www.atulkarmarkar.com/?p=3936 Wow. *takes a deep breath* Wow, has a year gone by already? 🙂 Indeed it has, and what a ride […]

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Wow. *takes a deep breath* Wow, has a year gone by already? 🙂

One Year At Walnut

Indeed it has, and what a ride its been! It seems like just a few weeks ago when Amit pinged to say they were looking at expanding their team and wanted to know if I’d be interested to meet up and know more.

I was on a break after my last job and at the time had mostly been freelancing for the past couple of years, so initially expected this to be another freelance / part-time gig but that wasn’t so. Now I’m probably among the rare junta who has *not* worked at a startup in the past few years, so there was just that initial hesitation, but a couple of meetings with him and then with Patan, and I was back to a full-time job a week later.

Oh wait, did I just say “full-time job”? Nah, I actually meant full-time fun-at-work, because that’s what it is. The team we have in place is among the best I’ve worked with and literally each day is filled with fun, laughter, learning, not forgetting the ice-cream and biryani parties every now and then. Yep, we do manage to get some work done as well 😉

I was of course, aware of Walnut from before. During late 2013 and early 2014, I’d met Amit a couple of times with common friends (when he was on a break) and around Oct-14, he reached out to check if I’d be interested in trying out this new expense manager they’d built. I like tinkering around with new apps all the time, so I was more than happy to do so, and was impressed by the capabilities of the Walnut App at the time.

Since then, there have been changes galore and it is unrecognisable from what it used to be – right from introducing the Bill Split feature to WalnutPay – the recent addition that lets you split spends and pay friends, pay your Visa credit card bills as well as Send and Receive Money for free from the app. That last feature is just fantastic, because all you need is a phone number to send money – you don’t need to remember any IFSC / account numbers or UPI Virtual Payment Address (VPA). Several friends using iPhones have found this useful as there aren’t too many similar / UPI options on iOS yet.

Of course, the list of upcoming features is a pretty long one and we’re all looking forward to exciting times in the months ahead!

Download the app right away (if you already haven’t) so you don’t miss out. Yeah I know – shameless plug 😛

Get it on Google Play Download On The App Store

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Trying the Khanabadosh Lunchbox http://www.atulkarmarkar.com/trying-the-khanabadosh-lunchbox/ http://www.atulkarmarkar.com/trying-the-khanabadosh-lunchbox/#respond Thu, 11 Feb 2016 03:01:30 +0000 http://www.atulkarmarkar.com/?p=3885 With one chicken gravy dish, 3 chapatis, steamed rice, green salad, pickle and papad, the Khanabadosh Lunchbox at Rs.170 is value for money

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Nowadays, all newspapers come with a bunch of various pamphlets and flyers shoved in – right from some tuition classes to furniture sale, food delivery, broadband plans and so on. Over the past 2-3 weeks, we’d been seeing this flyer of ‘Khanabadosh’ and were somewhat intrigued – by the name as well as the menu on offer. I vaguely recall coming across the name last year but maybe they weren’t in the neighbourhood back then and I didn’t come across any mention either.

Khanabadosh Menu

They seem to be only based in Pune as of now, and in 3-4 areas of the city. They have quite a diverse fare – right from Malabari and Hyderabadi Biryani, Malvani and Konkani dishes, to Goan, Punjabi, Delhi and Kerala cuisine. Among all those items, one that caught the eye was the ‘Lunchbox’ which seemed good value for money at Rs. 170 per box. The catch is that it is only available on weekdays.

We ordered two lunchboxes for three people thinking it would be just right, and oh boy, it was 🙂

Khanabadosh Lunchbox

It is delivered in a nice big box with all the items neatly laid out in containers. There’s one chicken gravy dish (we chose Chicken Chettinad and Butter Chicken), 3 chapatis per box, steamed rice, green salad, pickle and papad. The salad was actually nice and fresh, not the limp and soggy mess that most restaurants send these days.

The dal was superb, as good as made at home. Ditto for the chapatis, nice and soft (and warm). Both chicken dishes were quite good too. The portions seemed just right, although if you consider one lunchbox for one person (and not 2 for 3 as in our case), then all that food would certainly be a handful mouthful. At Rs. 340 for 3 people, the Khanabadosh Lunchbox was absolutely worth it!

I’m definitely going to try their other fare on offer – will keep you posted 😀

You can visit their website at www.khanabadosh.com or give them a call on 020 3377 1947 (interesting last 4 digits).

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Using HDFC Bank PayZapp – a mobile payment solution http://www.atulkarmarkar.com/using-payzapp-from-hdfc-bank/ http://www.atulkarmarkar.com/using-payzapp-from-hdfc-bank/#respond Mon, 15 Jun 2015 13:06:43 +0000 http://www.atulkarmarkar.com/?p=3800 The mobile payments, wallets and shopping  ecosystem has seen an entire bunch of apps in the past year or so, […]

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The mobile payments, wallets and shopping  ecosystem has seen an entire bunch of apps in the past year or so, and HDFC Bank PayZapp is the latest entrant to that club.

HDFC Bank PayZapp

Using HDFC Bank PayZapp, you can create an online virtual card via Netsafe, link your credit + debit cards to make utility bill payments, shop, and transfer funds – all from a single app, and without having to re-enter / re-authorise payment details each time you transact.

There’s a truckload of permissions needed upfront by the app, which are mostly self-explanatory and necessary. The mobile number is mapped to the device and other details stay with the bank; none in the phone or with the merchant.

HDFC Bank PayZapp

At the primary screen, you need to first register by inputting your mobile number after which you’re sent an OTP. I liked that the app picked up the OTP on it’s own; some apps with permission to read SMS still expect manual input. Once that is done, fill in personal details and a 4-12 digit PIN which will be used for future login. There’s also an email verification that follows. Enter the PIN to log in, select the two check boxes for one click payments.

HDFC Bank PayZapp

HDFC Bank PayZapp

The menu is straightforward; with tabs for shopping, creating a virtual card, recharge/bill pay, sending money to contacts, wallet transactions, and managing your cards. You need to link your credit / debit card first, before you can transact. Interestingly, if your card is an embossed one, the app can scan the card number unlike flat ones, where you need to input the details manually. Took me a few tries to get it perfect and I had to input the expiry date. I’ve not linked my debit card yet though.

HDFC Bank PayZapp

PayZapp also allows you to create a virtual online credit card via Netsafe, within the app. I’d used this facility many years ago when it was newly launched, will explore it again. It generates a virtual 16 digit credit card number with CVV code and expiry date, linked to your credit card or bank account, so your actual card numbers remain undisclosed.

HDFC Bank PayZapp

For using the wallet, you need to add money to it. As it is linked to your credit / debit card, there are no transaction limits and no need for top-ups either. Money can be sent to mobile / email contacts; they need not be HDFC Bank customers. HDFC Bank SmartBuy, the bank’s shopping portal is also integrated with PayZapp and although there aren’t many merchants on the PayZapp platform yet, several are expected to come aboard in the next 1-2 months.

HDFC Bank PayZapp

As I’d just installed the app, I wasn’t looking to buy anything right away or transfer funds to anyone, so settled on the transaction that was upcoming – paying my mobile bill 🙂

HDFC Bank PayZapp

Quite a straightforward process, as is visible in the pics, and quick – no set of questions to answer, no waiting for an OTP or having to input a secure code.

There are plans afoot to introduce a loyalty / rewards program, an e-vault to store documents, along with “contactless” and QR code based payments. Sounds interesting and something to look forward to.

Presently, HDFC Bank PayZapp is available for all customers of HDFC Bank and only on Android, which you can download from the Play Store. Versions for other platforms should be out soon too.

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Send money via WhatsApp, Facebook, Twitter, SMS, email http://www.atulkarmarkar.com/send-money-whatsapp-facebook-twitter-sms-email/ http://www.atulkarmarkar.com/send-money-whatsapp-facebook-twitter-sms-email/#respond Sun, 31 May 2015 13:09:48 +0000 http://www.atulkarmarkar.com/?p=3725 If you are an Axis Bank customer, you can now send money via WhatsApp, Facebook, Twitter, SMS and email to […]

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Axis Bank Ping Pay

If you are an Axis Bank customer, you can now send money via WhatsApp, Facebook, Twitter, SMS and email to anyone in your contact list.

That’s right; Ping Pay from Axis Bank is the latest addition to the list of payment apps from banks, recent ones being Pockets from ICICI Bank and Chillr from HDFC Bank.

Axis Bank Ping Pay

The initial announcement was made 2-3 weeks ago, but the app wasn’t available on the Play Store back then and I forgot about it. When I checked back some days ago, it was, although it seems Android-only for now.

Setting up the app was fairly simple once the mobile number was entered and OTP verified. The same M-Pin as that for the bank account is used to log in once authentication is done. The only crib was having to tap the ‘Enter / Return’ key on the keypad each time to confirm an action, as there was no other way to confirm input. Seemed a bit archaic.

Axis Bank Ping Pay

As the blurb on their site says,

“Ping Pay is a multi-social payment app from Axis Bank that lets you send or ask for money and mobile recharge across Facebook, Whatsapp, Twitter, SMS or e-mail. And everytime you send or ask for money or recharge, say whatever you have to say to your friends through videos, voice notes, images, or customized messages. So now everytime you have to send or ask for money, simply #PingPayKaro!

Axis Bank Ping Pay

Axis Bank Ping Pay

To send or receive money using Ping Pay, select a contact + connect mode, mention the amount to be transferred. The receiver gets a link, after which he/she should download Ping Pay and enter bank details to receive the money. However, the caveat here is that sending money or recharge is available only to Axis Bank customers. Non-Axis Bank customers can receive money or recharge as of now. Secondly, the receiver’s bank has to be IMPS-enabled.

Axis Bank Ping Pay

Simple enough, but when it came to actual use, the interface was quite confusing without knowing what to do next before I figured out at that one needs to long press the ‘Money’ or ‘Recharge’ button as the case may be, and then move it Up or Down depending on whether money has to be sent or received.

The per day, per transaction limit for transferring funds via Ping Pay as of now is Rs.50,000. Secondly, the app can only be used on one device with one mobile number.

Not everyone would be keen to download multiple apps just to send and receive money. With each bank coming up with their payment apps, it will be interesting to see their stats and stickiness six months down the line. There are several bank-agnostic payment apps and wallets that consumers are already using, not just to transfer money but also make purchases and avail of discounts/cashbacks. Personally, I’m already sensing a degree of fatigue with the plethora of payment apps and wallets around.

Ping Pay is presently available for download on the Play Store and is expected to be on the App Store soon as well.

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Cardback – for the best credit card and wallet offers http://www.atulkarmarkar.com/cardback-for-the-best-credit-card-and-wallet-offers/ http://www.atulkarmarkar.com/cardback-for-the-best-credit-card-and-wallet-offers/#respond Mon, 18 May 2015 11:20:08 +0000 http://www.atulkarmarkar.com/?p=3719 “Which of my credit / debit cards can get me the best deal on an online or offline purchase?” This […]

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Cardback

“Which of my credit / debit cards can get me the best deal on an online or offline purchase?”

This is a question all of us grapple with in the quest to maximise rewards and discounts from almost everything that we shop for now. Besides a plethora of loyalty cards from various stores, it is quite common for consumers to have more than one credit / debit card. How do you decide which card is the best to use, and where?

That is the dilemma Cardback aims to solve. It is a recommendation engine which displays the best offers and savings that are possible with the cards you hold.

Had chanced upon the app sometime towards the end of last year during my usual “app-hunts”, but it wasn’t of much use then since physical locations in Pune weren’t covered. Now that they are, I decided to try it out. Besides Pune, establishments in Delhi – NCR, Mumbai, Bengaluru, Chennai and Hyderabad are covered.

Cardback

Cardback

At first glance, the permissions needed by the app as well as their terms and conditions are daunting and somewhat discomforting, regardless of the explanations given.

The main screen has three tabs;

  • ‘Explore’ – which lets you decide on a course of action among the 9 specified (online as well as offline)
  • ‘Smart Pay’ – where you specify how much you’d like to spend, and where. Based on the cards you have, the app suggests which one gets you maximum bang for the buck
  • ‘Card Holder’ – which displays the cards you’ve added and allows further additions

Cardback

The best part is that there is no need to add any actual card numbers at all, only the card type, so none of your financial information is being accessed here. Most of the major card issuing banks are included, along with Paytm, Citrus, and Mobikwik among wallets.

While the app mostly works as it should, there are some quirks and mismatched data, like

  • under Pay Bills, it has “Citibank Online Bill Pay” with “Use HSBC Platinum Visa Credit Card” and 1-2 similar ones
  • under Movies, it shows offers from “The Economist”, “Open Magazine”, “Fortune India”, “India Today” etc
  • while most of the locations were nearby (<5kms), it did go off tangent at times, showing places > 10kms away

It also takes too much time – right from loading initially to displaying recommendations. I tried it offline at a couple of places and it took a fair bit of time to show me the best offer at those places, which can get irritating. Not too many physical establishments with offers are visible currently for Pune, although I expect that scenario would improve over time.

Cardback

There’s a tab for the Menu, which lets you log in via Twitter and Facebook. The app can be used without logging in too, which is good. Settings option lets you specify your interests as well as whether you’d like to receive notifications. Funny thing is even though I checked all, I don’t recall ever seeing any notifications. They also have a tie-up with Uber where you enter a code and get two free rides worth Rs 300 each (for first time users only).

Cardback

The FAQ appears to be designed in a hurry and is all over the place with text overlapping across two screens.

Overall, it’s an interesting and useful app to have if you use multiple credit / debit cards & wallets and are always looking for the best offers and deals on those cards.

It’s available for download on Android, iOS and Windows Phone.

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Making payments gets easier with Chillr http://www.atulkarmarkar.com/making-payments-gets-easier-with-chillr/ http://www.atulkarmarkar.com/making-payments-gets-easier-with-chillr/#respond Wed, 11 Mar 2015 05:17:42 +0000 http://www.atulkarmarkar.com/?p=3263 Had come across mentions of this app 2-3 weeks ago, but only recently got around to actually downloading and using […]

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Chillr

Had come across mentions of this app 2-3 weeks ago, but only recently got around to actually downloading and using it. An addition to the world of payment related apps, Chillr lets you send money to anyone in your phonebook who has a bank account.

It does away with the usual practice of having to add a beneficiary account along with bank details and wait anywhere from 30 minutes to 24 hours to be able to transfer money to that beneficiary. There’s no ‘wallet’ either.

Chillr

Unsurprisingly, it is a moderate privacy risk with the access it needs. Presently, only customers of HDFC Bank are allowed to send money, but there’s a whole bunch of other banks which can receive money. Presumably, sending money will be extended to customers of other banks (members of NPCI) and merchants at some point later.

Chillr

Add name and mobile number, wait for and then input the OTP you get via SMS. Seeing a message that my mobile number was not registered with the bank did lead to a WTF moment for a second. However, that was taken care of by logging into my Netbanking account and generating an MMID. Adding email id is optional. There’s also a bunch of other options from the menu which you can access.

Chillr

The home screen has four main sections, and tapping ‘Pay’ takes you to a screen with names of those who have installed the Chillr app and all other contacts. You can also Request funds, make payments towards Utilities and recharges (Coming Soon, as the app says). This would also allow for splitting food bills with friends or sharing rent with flatmates. The ‘Near Me’ function allows payments to those who are physically near your location.

Chillr

To actually make a payment, you need to call 18002666262 (toll free) and generate your m-pin. Once you receive it, change it to a 4 digit m-pin of your choice;

1. Dial *99# from your phone (from a GSM phone)
2. Enter ‘HDFC’ as the first four letters of your bank
3. Select option – ‘Change m-pin’
4. Follow the instructions

Recipients need to download the app and link their bank account in order to receive the money, which they’re prompted to do via SMS once you initiate a transfer. Besides the m-pin itself, there are other security measures in place as well.

Presently, all Chillr services are free till 31-Mar-15 and they say new charges if any, will be notified 45 days in advance. There is a cap on receiving money via the app, which is 10 times in a month. The FAQ on the HDFC Bank website says Rs.3.5+service tax is levied on each transaction while sending money. A maximum of Rs.5,000 can be transferred at one time and also per day, as well as 10 transactions per day.

Chillr

As of now, the app is available on Android and is expected to launch on other platforms as well. There’s a detailed FAQ on their website as well as information on the HDFC Bank website which should answer any queries you may have.

One odd thing I noticed was that none of the information on their website was accessible via mobile. Still seemed in pre-launch stage.

Chillr

Will be interesting to see how things shape up when their other services are launched, more banks come on board and *if* they start charging for services after 31-Mar-15. Try it out till then 🙂

Update: It seems to be available on iOS also now, although their website still doesn’t say so. 

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Walnut App – a powerful expense tracker and money manager http://www.atulkarmarkar.com/walnut-expense-bill-tracker/ http://www.atulkarmarkar.com/walnut-expense-bill-tracker/#comments Mon, 20 Oct 2014 01:36:38 +0000 http://www.atulkarmarkar.com/?p=3250 I love trying out new apps and in the past 2-3 years, I’ve probably tried over 1,000 apps across Blackberry, […]

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I love trying out new apps and in the past 2-3 years, I’ve probably tried over 1,000 apps across Blackberry, Android and iOS. At any given time, my phone / tablet easily has close to 250-300 apps on it, Walnut being the latest addition to that list. Sadly, I haven’t gotten around to writing about those apps, so rectifying that now.

Walnut

With the mobile phone becoming the preferred computing device of choice, there’s an app for practically everything one does nowadays, and personal finance is no exception. Personally, as far as the finance domain (banking/personal finance/stocks) is concerned, I’m not really a big fan of mobile apps; prefer to use desktop apps like MS-Money to track bank/card/loan details and MProfit for investments.

The Walnut app helps you manage your spending as well as track upcoming bills and payments. Nothing new or unique about the first bit; there are thousands of apps in that category, ranging from all-round personal finance managers to the specific budget/spend tracking types. At a basic level, these apps tell you how much money you;

  • have now/earn
  • spend & on what
  • will have at a future date
  • spend on bill payments

Then again, among all these apps;

– Some are free, some are paid (or with in-app purchases)

– Some are convoluted to set up and manage, some are too basic

– Some need minimal personal information, some expect too many sensitive details

– Some pick up information automatically, some expect you to input it manually

With regard to the last bit, some apps scan receipts and bills and generate reports from that data, others scan the SMSes you get from various sources like banks/credit cards/other merchants.

Aha, did that last bit cause the privacy-freak in you to get jumpy? 😉

Well, permission to read SMS isn’t anything new and knowingly or unknowingly, you use such apps all the time. The Walnut app doesn’t read personal messages or OTPs, only business transactions (bank/card/bill alerts etc) and all the processing based on those messages is done locally. Read their FAQ on this.

Walnut is very easy to begin using with barely any setup. It shows up as a moderate privacy risk, probably more on account of the SMS scan feature.

Walnut

Fairly straightforward Settings here. You can choose to turn notifications on and also set a monthly spending limit.

Walnut

There’s an Overview with Summary, Spends and Offers, Views with account details – somewhat intriguing to see my Axis Bank account shown twice under the card icon, once as “AXIS DEBIT”, whereas both HDFC Bank accounts and the credit card are shown with the bank icon.

Walnut

The Summary lists out month-wise details for cards, banks and bills. Tapping on them gives you an itemised list for spends as well as bills. Again, my Axis Bank account was shown under Cards. I don’t hold a credit card from that bank. Both my HDFC Bank accounts were listed correctly, but a recent transaction at ICICI Bank was missing. I also noticed that while my American Express credit card was detected, the American Express charge card wasn’t. (Update: The American Express charge card is detected now – it has a different messaging format compared to the credit card.) 

The Bills tab was mostly accurate, showing payments due on my American Express card, HDFC Bank credit card, Vodafone bill, and Citibank card. However, for my ICICI Bank credit card, multiple spends and a card payment were shown under this tab, which I thought was odd. (Update: This issue has been resolved.)

Walnut

The Stats tab shows your top spends category-wise as well as merchant-wise and month-wise (1mth, 3mths) and the the Map tab shows the location of the merchant establishment where you last swiped your card.

Walnut

Spends and Bills are shown correctly, with the latter showing no. of days remaining for payment. The Spends tab allows you to dive into each item where you can then categorise spends.

Walnut

It smartly pulls up a list of matching places so all you have to do is select the correct one. However, for spends at the same store in two different months, it located the place for one transaction, but couldn’t for the other, in spite of several attempts, which was odd. For online spends, one needs to select the category manually.

Walnut

Walnut

The Walnut app works only in India as of now. I like the fact that it handles everything automatically and is unobtrusive. Other apps which scan SMSes are quite annoying as they pop up each time you get one, asking for your inputs on that transaction.

Periodically, I keep deleting my SMSes in which case the reporting accuracy may be slightly hampered for me. Apparently, it’s not a problem if messages are deleted  – once recorded in the app, the spends data stays as is.

So if you use mobile apps to track and manage your finances, and are based in India, give this one a shot. Walnut is free, has a small footprint and is a powerful app in terms of the spends insights provided with almost zero manual input needed.

The Walnut app is presently available only on Android and you can get it from the Play Store.

* Some of the images which seemed to have too much personal financial information have been blurred, so apologies for the lousy screenshots 🙂

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XS Powercard: The smart portable charger your smartphone deserves http://www.atulkarmarkar.com/xs-powercard-smart-portable-charger-smartphone-deserves/ http://www.atulkarmarkar.com/xs-powercard-smart-portable-charger-smartphone-deserves/#respond Wed, 21 May 2014 03:44:30 +0000 http://www.atulkarmarkar.com/?p=3208 Thanks to the advancements in technology over the years, smartphones are now almost like a second computer – calls, chats, […]

This post, XS Powercard: The smart portable charger your smartphone deserves, was originally published at Atul Karmarkar.Com

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XS Powercard

Thanks to the advancements in technology over the years, smartphones are now almost like a second computer – calls, chats, messaging, emails, games, GPS – so much so that many of us practically use it as our primary device.

The downside is that all this comes at a cost – with almost 24hrs non-stop usage on the go, the battery just cannot keep up, and I’ve faced many instances where the battery died or was close to dying, forcing me to alter my usage till I was near a charging point. Of course, if I anticipate extended usage or if I’m travelling, I do carry a portable charger and / or a battery bank, both of which aren’t the most convenient items to lug around.

I’ve been a frequent visitor to Kickstarter and Indiegogo to see which new products are being crowdfunded and several of them have been quite interesting. Over the past several months, I’ve been seeing several nifty little products that have tried to alleviate this problem. My main grouse with them was that they were only facilitators for charging (like a cable / key), or had a one/two hour emergency charge, so I still had to be near a power source to charge the battery.

A couple of days ago, I chanced upon the XS Powercard, which is a device smaller than a credit card, has data storage (from 8GB to 32GB) and most importantly for me, a 2200 mAh battery which is sufficient for an almost full charge. Made by Mumbai based Xyra, they have both the Lightning (for iPhone) and Micro USB (for other phones) variants, and there are several other options and price points to choose from ($34 onwards, which I think is reasonable).

I’ve already pre-ordered it, and two of the main reasons (besides the product specs) were
a) Made in India, so no shipping charges ($10) and
b) Delivery (claimed) by August 2014 – both of which are a plus for me.

[aff] Head over to the Indiegogo site in case you’re keen to check it out.

XS Powercard

 Update: This was finally delivered in December, 2014.

This post, XS Powercard: The smart portable charger your smartphone deserves, was originally published at Atul Karmarkar.Com

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Using MProfit Portfolio Management Software – a review http://www.atulkarmarkar.com/using-mprofit-portfolio-management/ http://www.atulkarmarkar.com/using-mprofit-portfolio-management/#comments Wed, 12 Feb 2014 04:25:45 +0000 http://www.atulkarmarkar.com/?p=3164 I’ve been investing in the stock market for a long long time now, and in the early days, kept a […]

This post, Using MProfit Portfolio Management Software – a review, was originally published at Atul Karmarkar.Com

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I’ve been investing in the stock market for a long long time now, and in the early days, kept a written record and then used Excel or Open Office Calc to track my stock portfolio and other investments. Over a period of time, as the portfolio grew, it became cumbersome to keep inputting the data manually whenever there were any changes, and that’s where MProfit came in handy.

Till recently I’ve been using Microsoft Money to do this, along with the ET Portfolio Tracker for stocks and Valueresearchonline for mutual funds. There are portfolio tools with demat & online trading providers too. I use Sharekhan, HDFC Securities and ICICIDirect, and am not too enthused about their portfolio trackers.

MS Money is perfect in many ways for me; lets me track my investments, bank accounts, loans, pending bills, credit cards – all in one place, and I’ve been using it for almost 10-15 years now. However, the biggest problem was no real time updates for Indian stocks, no Capital Gains working (for India, so had to use Excel) and no way to have a “Group Account”, like for a family. There is also no way to import data *easily and accurately*. Microsoft has discontinued this product, but that doesn’t impact my usage in any way, as there is a recent free version still available for download.

The ET Portfolio Tracker is quite comprehensive and is easily among the best ones I’ve seen so far (and free). The only minor issue is it is web based, not that there’s any bank or other critical information stored (like Intuit Money Manager ). It’s not such a huge deal breaker though I’d be wary of entering too many details. Portfolio management on valueresearchonline is superb for mutual funds, but not all that great for stocks.

MProfit Portfolio Management Software

A year ago, I’d tried MProfit Portfolio Management Software – it was then available on a trial basis, after which one had to pay. I liked it, but wasn’t sure about paying for something that MS Money and the ET Tracker were doing for free. Some months ago however, it was made available for free for investors (for total investments upto Rs.50 lakhs) and I downloaded it again.

MProfit Portfolio Management Software

It is desktop based and all data is stored locally. Market data is updated real time to the extent allowed (with the standard 15 minute delay). There isn’t much to configure and once that was done, I went about adding data. The opening screen has a list of investment types on the left, from which one can select the required type and input the details. It is fairly straightforward and I liked the fact that one could input details according to the contract note, which took into account all associated costs with purchase/sale.

MProfit Portfolio Management Software

However, the real powerhouse is the import function, which lets you add a template for Broker Contract Note, Mutual Funds, Insurance and F&O, taking the hassle out of inputting the data at all. It includes almost every known intermediary in the market today so you shouldn’t have a problem importing your data irrespective of who you’ve invested with, including pdfs from eCAS (for mutual funds).

Once the template is created, the scrip/MF names in the contract note/bill need to be mapped to the names in MProfit the first time and voila, all your data is in. I was wary of doing it correctly for all my previous transactions, but it checks for duplicates, so no worries about entering same data twice. The only problem I faced was in importing slightly older records, as it recognises only the latest / recent template.

MProfit Portfolio Management Software

For other corporate actions like merger/demerger, split, bonus, dividend payout/reinvestment, adding the details is straightforward, but has to be done manually, which I found the biggest pain while using MProfit. This is unlike the ET tracker or valueresearchonline, which show these as pending actions and once you give the go-ahead, automatically update the portfolio to reflect the changed status.

MProfit Portfolio Management Software

The report generation feature in MProfit is quite good and comprehensive, with six major types of reports, each having a further 10-15 sub-reports, though I’ve not yet checked out all of them. The data is presented in a nice and neat format and it was fun playing around with the data to generate different reports.

They don’t have an app yet*, but then I don’t trade daily and I don’t need to check my portfolio every few hours of the day either, so I don’t really miss that aspect. While this is a free version, they also have a Investor+ version with unlimited investments, Pro version for Companies, HNIs, NRIs etc and an Advisor version for CFPs, Investment Advisors and brokers.

MProfit Portfolio Management Software

You can download the free version from the MProfit site, use it and then take a call on whether to continue using it and / or upgrade. I’ve been using MProfit for some time now, and quite like it. Will it replace MS Money? No. Will it replace other portfolio trackers I use? Yes, there’s a good chance of that happening – only catch being that I use it to track investments below Rs. 50L 😉

* Update: November, 2014 – They’ve released a beta version of their Android app, which you can download.

This post, Using MProfit Portfolio Management Software – a review, was originally published at Atul Karmarkar.Com

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