Since the demonetisation of Rs. 500 and Rs. 1000 notes started, the Cash No Cash website has become easily among the most popular ways to locate a nearby ATM with cash for millions of people across the country. Cashnocash.com, which boasts of a minimalist design, relies on the crowdsourcing model to help its users find working ATMs close to their location, and in turn help others do the same.
The Cash No Cash website has become especially useful for people who are on the move and in search of an ATM with cash anywhere in their vicinity or on their route. It is quite simple to use: just type in your area pincode in the search box, and it will provide you a list of ATMs in the region. The ATMs with cash are marked with green pins, the ones with a wait time in orange pins, and ATMs with no cash in red pins. The addresses of all locations are provided in the listing as well. And not just ATMs and banks but also post offices are also part of Cash No Cash’s database.
Cashnocash.com was started by Manjunath Talwar and Abhijit Khasnis, the co-founders of Hiree, a company acquired by popular classifieds website Quikr recently. The project finds its origins in the inconvenience the common people faced after Prime Minister Narendra Modi announced that Rs. 500 and Rs. 1000 notes were being demonetised as a move to curb black money in the country.
Talwar tells Gadgets 360 that the idea for Cash No Cash came when the driver of the cab he was riding in told him that he had not had breakfast and lunch because he was unable to withdraw cash. While the digital savvy could use social media and other tools to locate ATMs with cash nearby, the troubles did not let up for the technologically-challenged.
Seeing the plight of the driver and many others like him, Talwar says the duo pitched the idea for a crowdsourced website providing information about ATMs with cash or no cash to Quikr. The Quikr management team was supportive of the initiative, and volunteers from the company – along with Talwar and Khasnis – came together and developed the Cashnocash.com website over the weekend, within 5 days of the demonetisation announcement.
With the designing and development of the Cash No Cash website done, the next step was getting data for the website, which was based on the crowdsourced model. For this, the team behind Cashnocash.com reached out to friends and family via WhatsApp groups and other social media channels to ask them to update information about the ATMs nearby. The effort was a success, with users updating information about 2.5 lakh ATM locations since launch.
Cash No Cash is used quite heavily as well, with over 9 million unique visitors and more than 60 million page views since launch. Seeing the success of the website, Talwar, Khasnis and the Quikr team released the Android and iOS apps for Cashnocash.com.
Of course, there were some growing pains for the Cashnocash.com team during the first few days. With the number of users heading to the website in search of working ATMs soaring, the team had to scale up – and fast. The team had to quickly scale up the infrastructure to handle the onslaught of user requests without compromising their experience on the website. Then there was the issue of others copying their idea. Khasnis says that sometimes people even tried to steal their data via scraping techniques and then use it on their own websites to build Cash No Cash clones, a practice that falls in a grey area on the Web. But it is part of the experience and a learning, he says.
Numbers and initial problems aside, the public’s response to Cash No Cash has been positive as well. Around 90 percent of the users who give feedback leave a positive word for the effort, according to Talwar. The website has received appreciation from users from locations as diverse as Silchar in Assam to Kudankulam in Tamil Nadu, he adds. The remaining 10 percent mention the unavailability of cash at the ATMs suggested by the website as the reason for the negative feedback.
To reduce the number of cases where an ATM suggested by Cashnocash.com runs out of cash and to make the website more accurate, both Khasnis and Talwar urge the website users to try and update the information as regularly as they can.
Certainly a successful website in the current cash crunch, many expect Cash No Cash’s usage to decrease as ATMs start getting cash on a regular basis. So, what’s the future of Cashnocash.com? Talwar tells us that the team for now is focussed only on improving the user experience and making the information more accurate, with the Quikr top management looking at the long-term vision of the project.
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