With more than 340 million active users spread throughout the country, PhonePe is among the top payment apps in India. It allows users, to effortlessly recharge their mobile phones, pay utility bills, and make instant payments at millions of offline and online stores. When dealing with the question, is PhonePe a good alternative to UPI, it’s important to clarify that PhonePe is among the many service providers within the UPI ecosystem. Therefore, PhonePe. UPI participates through PSP banks, including Axis Bank, ICICI Bank and Yes Bank. However, PhonePe also has its own wallet, and it facilitates payments from debit cards, credit cards, and other external electronic ways. So, there are many payment options rather than simply using the Unified Payments Interface (UPI).
Similarities between PhonePe UPI interfaces
The most straightforward way to visualize UPI is like a highway that connects more than 300 Indian banks (and financial institutions). UPI was developed by the National Payments Corporation of India (NCPI). It is not a bank in itself, but simply the framework that joins all participating banks to facilitate real-time payments.
Bharat Interface for Money (BHIM), which is another creation from the National Payments Corporation of India, offers similar functionalities to PhonePe. This is a payment app that allows users to send and receive money, as well as make payments for goods and services offline and online through linked bank accounts.
- With both PhonePe, UPI and BHIM, users need to set up a PIN code after linking up their bank accounts. An advantage of UPI is that if a user has already generated a PIN for one payment application, say PhonePe; it can also be used for BHIM.
- In terms of the PhonePe app vs the BHIM app, PhonePe has 10+ Cr downloads compared with 5+ Cr for BHIM. This isn’t surprising because, as highlighted, PhonePe is more versatile.
- As for the review ratings, PhonePe stands at 4.5/5 (81.4L reviews) against BHIM with 4.7/5 (12.3L). Not much to choose between the two in terms of customer satisfaction, although BHIM slightly edges it.
- The user interface of both apps is clean and simple; however, some Play Store reviews commented that PhonePe has too many banner ads that slow the application down at peak times. That aside, the intuitive design of these apps delivers hassle-free payments in only a couple of taps.
Pros and Cons of Using PhonePe
The numbers speak for themselves – 340 million users are nearly one-quarter of the country’s 1.4 billion population. Clearly, people get value out of using this service. Let’s go through its strengths and weaknesses.
- India is focused on becoming a cashless society. So, people need a powerful, all-in-one application that assists this drive. This is clearly one of PhonePe’s strengths; it allows users to pay utility bills, recharge their mobile phone credit and internet, as well as to buy gold and other investment products.
- PhonePe is also accepted at 30+ million locations offline and online, making it easy to pay for things at the click of a button.
- While it’s good that PhonePe is within the UPI ecosystem, using the PhonePe wallet doesn’t require the user to link a bank account to their PhonePe account. It’s a fact that many customers don’t like linking accounts.
- Furthermore, many Indians now enjoy playing at online casinos but prefer to use a payment service like the PhonePe wallet. Therefore, they don’t have to share any banking details and they can play live casino games without any worries.
- Additionally ,with PhonePe Switch, users can log in and shop or purchase travel packages.
- Lastly, there are also Cashback rewards for amounts spent through the app.
- One disadvantage of the PhonePe wallet is that users can only add 10,000 INR a month. Also, it can only hold 10,000 INR maximum at any one time. Therefore, if the wallet has 5,000 INR in it, the maximum that can be reloaded is another 5,000 INR.
- Also, PhonePe states in its terms of service that it may charge a ‘convenience fee’ for certain transactions. This is including Bill Pay and mobile credit recharges. The cost of these fees ranges from 0.50 – 100 INR. Topping up a PhonePe wallet could also be subject to a loading fee, but the company doesn’t specify how much this is.
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