Cash No Cash has emerged as one of the biggest websites in this time of cash crunch, where nearly every ATM either does not have cash or completely shut down. Finding that one ATM with cash nearby is on top of everyone's mind, and Cashnocash.com is one of the few online tools that people have relied on to solve the problem. The minimalist website relies on the crowdsourcing model to help users find working ATMs close to their location, and in turn help others do the same.
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.
(Also see: Websites and Apps to Find Working ATMs Near You)
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.