Bharat Interface for Money, or BHIM, which has been built on top of the United Payment Interface (UPI) launched last year. If companies like Paytm, MobiKwik and Freecharge were having a field day since November 8, the BHIM app could mean lower business for them because on the face of it BHIM seems a more convenient and simpler app for consumers.
According to Amitabh Kant, CEO of Niti Ayog, the BHIM app has been downloaded for more than 3 million times on Google Play Store and over 500,000 transactions have already been made so far. Considering the app is not available on iOS and Windows yet, that is a huge number already.
hile BHIM has ease of access, Paytm is more widely used across the country. Both have their flaws, both have their benefits but which one comes out on top? Let’s take a look.
BHIM is NOT an e-wallet. It can be considered an easier way to access your bank account to make payments, transfer and receive money. This means you don’t need to add money to BHIM, since it is basically your bank account. There are several ways through which you can use BHIM, using a phone number if your bank supports UPI, using IFSC and MMID, and using unique QR codes. You can also access all the features being offline by using *99# USSD code.
The installation and setup of BHIM is incredibly easy, Paytm is not so much.
This doesn’t mean using Paytm is difficult, it can be said that BHIM is easier than Paytm. To use Paytm you need to add money to the wallet each time it runs out of money, the app comes with several features and options that can be a tad bit confusing to the first-time user or someone who never used a smartphone before.
Most banks in India are UPI-enabled by now, which means all you need is a phone number to send or receive money through BHIM, the same goes for payments.
Paytm has put up several security measures in place. All transactions between Paytm and banks are made through gateways that have their own security systems, it also employs PIN or pattern lock to access the app. Paytm has been in the market for years now, and no hack attempts, successful or otherwise, have been reported so far. So it’s safe to assume that Paytm is pretty much secure.
On the other hand, not much is known about BHIM’s security. The app uses three levels of authentication, first between the app and the phone, second between the app and the bank, and third between the bank and the phone. All of this sounds good enough.
Lucideus Tech, one of the companies involved with BHIM apps, says that BHIM’s security is “in line with what a Google Wallet or Apple Pay will be using”. That is reassuring. However, in our brief use of the app we found it to be buggy as it cancelled transactions without giving a reason, or put a transaction on hold for no apparent reason, we cannot really put our faith in the app as far as security is concerned. We do hope that it will improve in the coming days, and maybe we will have some more clarity about security measures taken by banks, government and the app itself.
Reliability and trust
Launched by National Payments Corporation of India (NPCI), BHIM carries government’s name with it, which of course inspires more trust than a private firm. Since BHIM is a UPI app, you can always contact your bank in case anything goes wrong.
Paytm has also put its measures in place if something goes south, however, they require long, tedious talks with customer care executives and may end up in long mail trails too. Since Paytm is not just roadside vendor who would deny having done business with you, you can rest assured to find a solution to a problem eventually.
In terms of usage, Paytm is currently more reliable. Its servers seem more robust and there are fewer bugs. BHIM, on the other hand, is having some teething issues.
It is still too early to send out a verdict on BHIM, however, we can say for a fact that it is possibly the easiest online payments app out there. There is no doubt that BHIM is a long distance from overtaking the popularity of apps like Paytm, but if the makers patch the bugs and put in more efforts to market it better, somewhere in line with what Paytm, Freecharge and MobiKwik have been doing, BHIM could become the best cashless solution India was looking for.