You may not have heard of Paytm Canada until now, but that doesn’t mean you won’t start hearing about it more very soon.
I got to know Paytm Canada when I participated in the Money 20/20 Payments Race last October. While I was on the road, trying to survive my journey from Toronto to Cincinnati to Denver to Las Vegas using only my chip and pin credit card, I got an email from Aditya, Paytm Canada’s Director of Product Management. He was following my race (all the racers had to vlog along the way) and saw that I was going to end up at the Money 20/20 conference in Las Vegas. He was going to be there with the CEO of the company and wanted to meet me.
Unfortunately, because I came in last and was basically a day later than all the other racers, I didn’t get a chance to meet up with Aditya at the conference. But, lucky for me, a few months later he reached out to set up a time to meet in Toronto and I was able to visit Paytm Canada’s headquarters downtown.
Now, one thing about Aditya, he is a ball of energy. I’ve had a lot of meetings with folks in the tech and finance industry, but none as enthusiastic about their brand as Aditya. Which is a big reason why I’m writing about Paytm right now and made a video all about it too.
What Does Paytm’s Name Mean?
First off, you may be wondering where the name “Paytm” came from. Prepare for your mind to be blown!
Pay Through Mobile
Okay, maybe your mind wasn’t blown, but it does describe pretty clearly what it’s all about. But before diving in to what Paytm does, let me share how Paytm came to be since it’s a pretty cool story.
How Did Paytm Get Started?
Paytm was founded in India by Vijay Shekhar Sharma in August 2010. Now, Vijay has an incredible rags to riches story, which I won’t go into now. If you want to know it, I highly recommend reading this article from The Economic Times. Talk about the power of never giving up!
I mentioned earlier that you may not have heard of Paytm yet, but that’s because it’s relatively new in Canada, having launched in early 2017. Even though it’s new to Canada, it’s been around in India for a while and it’s all the rage. Currently, it’s India’s largest mobile commerce platform with over 230,000,000 users (yes, you read that right!). It’s also the first Indian company to receive funding from Alibaba, and its founder who at one time struggled to make ends meet is now worth $3 billion. To say that it’s one of the fastest-growing fintech companies in the world would be an understatement.
Now, before evolving into a major mobile payment service rivalling Paypal, it actually started out as a prepaid mobile recharge service. You may not be aware of this if you’ve never lived in another country before, but many countries like India have very different financial landscapes. For instance, in many countries, consumers opt for mobile payments, cash or prepaid payment methods, instead using debit or credit. I experienced something similar when I was a missionary in The Gambia at 18. Almost everyone there used prepaid phone cards for their cell phones. One of the reasons for this is because a large part of the population is unbanked. And in India, 19% of the population fits into this category.
So, when India’s Prime Minister Narendra Modi announced his demonetization program on Nov. 8, 2016, people in India panicked. As explained in Forbes, this program signalled that “500 and 1,000 denomination notes — 86% of currency in circulation —” would no longer hold any cash value. And, if that wasn’t enough reason to panic, the country’s 1.3 billion population were given “a 50-day window to either deposit them into bank accounts or exchange them for newly designed and minted notes.”
Upon this announcement, people were looking for an alternative, and Paytm was right there at the perfect time.
Since then, Paytm has evolved into a more robust payment platform, available in India and Canada (not including Quebec).
How Does Paytm Work?
When I asked Aditya how Paytm worked, this is how he described it to me, “Think of it as a chequing account that’s not owned by a major bank, doesn’t charge you any fees, and helps you earn rewards.”
I think the major bank part is actually a pretty significant thing to note, because although there used to be a few independent online banks in Canada, most are now owned by the big 5 banks. For instance, PC Financial is now Simplii, owned by CIBC. Tangerine is owned by Scotiabank. Motive Financial is owned by Canadian Western Bank. And not including any credit unions, EQ Bank is the last independent online bank that I can tell.
Not to get you confused, Paytm is not a bank. It’s a mobile payment platform. Its sole purpose is for you to load your account with money and spend it through one of the 5,000 Canadian merchants you can link your account to. While you can’t earn interest on your money, like some of the banks’ chequing accounts offer, there are no fees and you earn rewards for every purchase or bill payment.
How to Pay Your Bills with Paytm
One of the most popular uses for Paytm is for bill payments. You can easily set up all your bill payments, and earn rewards for doing it. If you’re wondering what kind of bill payments, almost any type. You can pay your utility bills, property taxes, credit card bills, insurance, internet, tuition…the list goes on and on!
Another great thing about the app is if you want to pay your bills with it, Paytm won’t let you forget. You can easily set up notifications through the app so you’ll be reminded when a bill is about to be due.
How to Send Money to Friends & Family Using Paytm
You can also send money to your friends and family via mobile or email address in just a few clicks. But just remember, this isn’t the same thing as an Interac e-Transfer. The funds will be sent to their Paytm account. But, on the upside, Paytm doesn’t charge any transaction or convenience fees for sending or receiving funds (whereas most Interac e-Transfers cost you $1).
How to Load Your Paytm Account
As for how to add funds to your account, you can do so by linking one of your existing bank accounts, doing an Interac e-Transfer, or you can even go in-person to Canada Post and load your app with cash there.
Why There Are (Almost) No Convenience or Transaction Fees
One of the biggest benefits to using Paytm is that there are virtually no fees. Yes, I said virtually because they have implemented a few fees, but personally, I think them doing so makes complete sense.
And if you’re wondering “Then how does the company make money?” Instead of charging users for the app, they charge merchants to be part of the app.
Here’s a quick breakdown of the different uses of Paytm and what fees may apply.
|Convenience charge on Credit Card Payments (AMEX only)||Between 2% – 3% wherever applicable|
|Convenience charge on Debit Card Payments||$0|
|Convenience charge on Pre-Authorized Debit or Bank account Payments||$0|
|Reversal requests for bill payments (if applicable)||$0|
|Account is NSF: (Not applicable in Quebec)||$15|
|Loading money into Paytm Account||$0|
|Paytm to Paytm Account Transfer||$0|
|Paytm Person to Bank Transfer||$0|
So, right at the top you’ll notice that they charge fees when you use your AMEX in the app. This does not mean you are charged a fee when using Paytm cash to pay your AMEX bill. This means if you use your AMEX for bill payments.
You see, even though Paytm’s real purpose is for you to load your account with money from your bank account or by depositing cash through Canada Post, they also allow you to link credit cards to your account. They thought this would be another way to make the app more convenient, since this would allow users to pay their bills via credit card instead of just Paytm cash. Unfortunately, some users would try “gaming the system” by overpaying a bill with their credit card, then asking the biller for a refund. They did this in order to get more reward points from their credit card company, while Paytm had to pay all the handling charges.
This was most commonly done with Visa credit cards, which is why Paytm no longer allows Visa credit cards to be linked on their platform. They do still allow AMEX and Mastercard credit cards to be linked, however they charge a fee for AMEX in order to curb this type of unethical behaviour. There are no fees for using your Mastercard. You can learn more about credit card payments on Paytm’s blog.
With all that being said, I would advise against using your credit card for payments within the app. My favourite part about the app after all is that it encourages people to pay their bills on time with cash, instead of depending on credit.
How to Earn Paytm Points by Referring a Friend
Want to earn an easy $10? All you have to do is make an account in the app, use my special promo code MOMONEY, link a bill to your account, then once you pay a bill of at least $50, you will receive $10 just like that.
Paytm has a pretty decent refer a friend program that will help you spread the word about the app and earn points very easily.
Here’s what you have to do:
- Go into the app
- Go to “Rewards”
- Go to “Collect”
- Click on “Refer & Collect Points”
- Send your promo link to your friend
- Once they create an account and set up a bill payment, both you and your friend will receive 1,000 points once they pay a bill of at least $50
How to Earn More Paytm Points
There are a number of other ways you can easily earn more Paytm points, and here they are listed below:
- Pay a bill and get 1 Paytm point for every $1 paid
- Link a new biller to your account get 250 points
- Verify your profile and get 1,000 points
- Pay 3 different bills in a month and get 500 points
- Pay 5 different bills in a month and get 1,000 points
- Use my promo code MOMONEY and get $10 deposited into your account (when pay a bill of at least $50)
How to Redeem Your Paytm Points
First and foremost, Paytm points cannot be converted into cash. Instead, you earn points so you can redeem them for gift cards. And there are some pretty sweet gift cards available to redeem such as:
- Warby Parker
For more details on earning and redeeming points, make sure to check out this post on Paytm’s blog.
Final Thoughts on Paytm
There are a lot of different apps out there, and believe me, I get pitched by them all. But there’s something about Paytm that got me excited. And it could be the fact that it’s already so successful India where there are hundreds of millions of people already using it.
Now, if you’re thinking about trying it out, let me recap what this app is for and why it may make sense for you:
- It’s free to use and there are no fees if you plan on just using cash in the app
- You’ll never be late with a bill payment because the app will remind you when your bills are due
- You can earn rewards on bills you never could before, like your electricity bill, property taxes or heating
- If you want to move away from using credit, this is a great way to pay with cash but still earn rewards like all those credit cards offer
If you do make an account and start using it, I’d love to know what you think. Share your experience in the comments!