Chharo app to facilitate cashless transactions

In line with the national goal to encourage a cashless economy and promote financial inclusion, Bank of Bhutan (BoB) launched mobile e-wallet “Chharo” yesterday.

Chharo is the first e-wallet to be introduced in the country.  It is an e-wallet application available for free download on both Android and iOS platform allowing anyone including tourists and visitors with a smart phone to make simple and secure digital payments across devices and channels.

Unlike the mobile banking application (mBoB) a Chharo user need not have a bank account to be registered and use the app.  The Chharo app will also provide a marketplace model bringing business merchants and buyers on a single platform and advance e-commerce in the country.

Chharo can be downloaded and used immediately after completing a simple registration process based on the registered mobile number of the user.  The main difference between mBoB and Chharo is that mBoB is linked to a bank account while Chharo is not.

Chharo is interfaced with the Royal Monetary Authority’s Bhutan Immediate Payment Services (BIPS) gateway making it interoperable between all banks in the country.  This is a unique feature of Chharo not usually found in e-wallet apps in other countries.  This feature enables a user to load money into Chharo from any bank in Bhutan while tourists can load the wallet using their debit or credit cards.  A feature to transfer money to any bank account from Chharo is also being developed and will be available soon.

Chief Executive Officer of BoB, Pema Nadik said as the name suggests, Chharo is intended to be a friend to everyone.

“That is the reason that we have intentionally kept it “brand agnostic” so that it is not identified as a service of any particular bank but of the banking sector of Bhutan,” said the CEO.

For online shopping, the app will work only within the country. The merchants have to register with bank.

So far, 10 merchants have registered and 26 are under process.

Features in the Chharo app include online shopping, wallet transfers-can transfer to another wallet user, top up service, bookings of hotels and restaurants, add money  from bank account of any bank in the country or using any debt or credit cards and accept money into wallet by scanning your personalized QR or using the mobile number.

It can also pay money to other wallet user by scanning their QR code, thump print authentication for any transaction through wallet app and independent seller app will also upload and sell their products. It will also give them better control over their business with system in-built inventory management and analytics.

Other features such as bus ticket booking, movie ticket booking, paying traffic fines, cash deposit over the counter to the wallet account and bill payments (Cable TV and BPC bills) will also be introduced on Chharo soon. Chharo will also provide payment options for G2C services where possible.

Dechen Dolkar from Thimphu