Things are brutal in India’s wallet business. There are lots of companies, lots of competition, and the stakes are high. And every once in a while, companies might just want to sneak one up over their competitors.
Paytm CEO Vijay Shekhar Sharma has said that HDFC Bank representatives might be manually uninstalling the Paytm app from users’ phones while they promote their own app, PayZapp. Sharma says that a senior Paytm employee’s uncle had the experience in Kolkata. He and his wife apparently run a boutique and use HDFC Bank to pay their employees. He says that an HDFC representative came over to show them how to use PayZapp. Once he was done, he allegedly checked the phone to see if Paytm was installed. On finding that it was, he deleted it.
— Vijay Shekhar (@vijayshekhar) May 6, 2017
Sharma shared the screenshot of the conversation on Twitter, tagging HDFC Bank’s customer support handle and saying “Wow, lots of love needed for @HDFCBank_Cares.” Other members of Paytm’s senior management also tweeted about the incident.
In all my app uninstall analysis in life, never factored this ? https://t.co/bm3DfPjEN0
— Deepak Abbot (@deepakabbot) May 6, 2017
While the story is unsubstantiated, it would certainly be in HDFC’s advantage if fewer users had Paytm on their phones. PayZapp might not be as much of a household name as Paytm, but it seems to have some traction all the same. It has between 5 million and 10 million downloads on the Play Store, and operates in much the same space as Paytm does. PayZapp allows users to recharge their phones, pay bills online, and also has sections on travel, shopping and movies. And it’s not limited to customers of HDFC – any bank’s users can download the app and link their credit and debit cards.
And a certain type of unsophisticated user might believe an official HDFC representative telling them that they couldn’t have Paytm on their phones while they had PayZapp. It’s not yet certain if this was the work of an overenthusiastic sales person, or it’s more widespread, but Paytm’s leadership team clearly isn’t impressed, and is making no efforts to hide its displeasure.
This isn’t the first time that HDFC Bank has been accused on social media for having slightly questionable practices. Karthik Srinivasan, a Bangalore-based digital marketer has been on an online Satyagraha against the bank for nearly 100 days, tweeting each day about how the bank signs up users into its loyalty programs by default, and hides the cost in the footnotes of its emails.
But Paytm’s accusations are a lot more direct. The CEO of a wallet company has accused his competitor of uninstalling their app from customer’s phones – that seems a pretty serious accusation. We’ll update this article if HDFC responds.