Payment wars

The unlikely story of BHIM, the upsetter of plans

BHIM came in with a bang and took most people in India’s payments ecosystem by surprise. It has already stolen the thunder from Flipkart’s PhonePe and banks’ UPI apps. But there is considerable doubt about its future

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Remember that epic cemetery scene in Sergio Leone’s 1966 spaghetti western, The Good, The Bad and The Ugly? Something similar is at play in India’s newest payments platform, United Payments Interface (UPI). An app called BHIM (we’ll come to it later, stay with us), another app called PhonePe (owned by the largest local e-commerce unicorn, Flipkart, and we’ll come to that too) and major banks are caught in a tense Mexican standoff with their made-in-India guns trained on each other.

It…

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