Payments Rivals Troll Paytm Over Its RBI Restrictions

Even as Paytm has been on overdrive the last few days letting people know that RBI’s restrictions meant didn’t mean that its merchant QR codes would stop working, its rivals seem to have been equally hard at work, looking to undermine its efforts.

Paytm rival PineLabs has appeared to troll Paytm’s full-page ad which appeared in some newspapers yesterday. “India’s every Paytm QR and Soundbox will keep working. Today. Tomorrow. Always,” Paytm’s ads had declared on the front pages of major newspapers including Times of India.

But today, X users discovered an ad by rival payments company PineLabs. “The front page can be bought. Trust cannot,” the ad simply said. #IndiaTrustsPineLabs, the ad continued, claiming that 1 million businesses used India’s “fully compliant” payments platform.


The ad was clearly a reference to Paytm’s run-ins with regulators over the last few years, and its recent attempts to publicize that some of its operations were in the clear. PineLabs isn’t the only payments company that has been referencing Paytm’s troubles. Just two days ago, PhonePe CEO Sameer Nigam had said that PhonePe would get a proportionate number of users who leave Paytm, subtly hinting that people were moving from Paytm to other apps. “I think we will (gain users). If there is a loss, we’ll get a proportionate share…some will come,” he had said. PhonePe is India’s biggest UPI player, so a proportionate share would mean that it could be the biggest beneficiary of Paytm’s regulatory troubles.

PhonePe, for its part, has also run ads looking to wrest users away from Paytm. When RBI had first imposed restrictions on Paytm, PhonePe had run ads saying “Business runs best when it runs on PhonePe”. PhonePe had highlighted its services were “easy, reliable and secure”, without explicitly naming Paytm.

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And India’s second-largest UPI app GPay had taken on an even more direct approach — it had directly sent its users a notification asking them to migrate their bank accounts to its platform.

There have also been reports that sales and marketing personnel of rival apps have been visiting shopkeepers, telling them that Paytm’s payment solutions would soon stop working, and asking them to switch to their services instead. Countering this appears to have been the motive of Paytm’s full-page ad — the ad tells users to “beware of rumours” around Paytm’s Soundbox. But rival companies seem to have found ways to needle Paytm’s over its initiatives, and highlighting its regulatory lapses. And while these approaches might seem opportunistic and below the belt to some, Paytm can hardly complain — the company had used a picture of PM Modi without authorization in 2016 to promote its services when demonetization was announced. With other companies now using this opportunity to get back at Paytm, it appears that Paytm is getting a taste of its own medicine.