The demonetisation drive has left a lot of us hunting for ATMs with cash nearby. In fact the crowd is expected to soar at ATMs as December 1 (the salary day) approaches. But what if we told you there’s a way to escape the long queues get cash comparatively quickly? Well, that’s exactly what the Walnut app does. Walnut app, which is available on Android and iOS, finds out when a nearby ATM has cash based on user’s transactions and sends an alert to others. It takes help of crowdsourcing to provide other information such as denomination of notes and the kind of queue. The app which was primarily designed to help split bills, etc find itself very popular among Android users in India thanks to the ATM finding feature.
Amit Bhor, Co-founder, Walnut explains, “The moment Walnut detects a successful ATM transaction, we know the ATM is active. Next, the app asks the user for ATM information such as status of queue and then show the same to rest of the users on Walnut. This way, one Walnut user helps thousands of others.” He points out the data is verified because it only generates after a real successful ATM transaction. “We’re crowdsourcing any other additional information that’s required,” he adds.
Walnut, which is primarily a personal finance tracking app, has seen a tremendous response after it launched the ATM tracking feature. The Walnut team took 48 hours to roll out the active ATM tracking feature, which was unveiled on November 11. “We used to track ATMs earlier as well. But when demonetisation happened, we realised we’re sitting on a lot of data that can be useful. So, within 48 hours of the demonetisation announcement,we rolled out the active ATM tracking facility,” he said.
Amit claims Walnut had 2 million users before the demonetisation announcement. However, Walnut’s daily downloads increased ten times after since November 11. Its user base has now doubled to approximately 4 million users now. As of today, Walnut app is ranked 32 in the Top free apps category on Google Play Store. “Specifically on the ATM feature, we get almost 10 million requests every day on the app. People launch Walnut about 5-6 times a day, just to find active ATMs nearby,” Amit says. Walnut currently tracks around 90,000 ATMs in real-time across India.
Based on data by ATM withdrawal amounts, Walnut estimates that ATMs are at 25 per cent capacity as compared to pre-demonetization. Going by the number of ATM transactions, the ATM capacity is about 40 per cent now due to reduced withdrawal limits of Rs 2,500.
“Walnut is a finance tracking application that looks at your SMSes to list out your expenditure in various categories. You can make B2B transfers via app and Walnut gives suggestions on spending habits as well,” explains Amit.
On the privacy and security bit, the Walnut co-founder says the app only reads text messages with business numbers in front of them. The app doesn’t track messages that come from a 10-digit number or those that contain OTPs. But since, third-party apps aren’t allowed to read messages on iOS, it doesn’t track finances on iPhone unless you add account details. However, other features such as splitting bills, tracking ATM and transferring money are available on the platform.