Screenshot of Paytm Home Page

Paytm is an Indian e-Commerce venture that is based in India and caters mostly for local players. Since 2010 it expanded its reach and grew beyond a regular FinTech into a fully fledged online store. It still offers mobile recharging and bill payment services, but now covers other aspects of online trading. They run a similar venture as Amazon, Flipkart, Shopee and OLX, albeit at a much smaller scale. It recently added a service allowing users to book bus tickets and buy cinema tickets.

Key facts about Paytm

  • Paytm allows users to view tariff plans and recharge them using major prepaid mobile Indian operators.
  • The new features make it possible for customers to scan and use the QR codes to pay at local stores.
  • Paytm remembers all the mobile charging details, so those who use the service can recharge instantly.
  • Customers are occasionally offered cash backs and discounted coupons.
  • Paytm has its own wallet, which allows customers to pay for cab, bus and auto rides in India.

How does Paytm work?

Paytm is no longer a one trick pony, but it is still heavily geared towards the mobile charging service. While it still trails the leading pack of e-commerce stores by a great distance, it is at the top of this industry in India. It offers its users the option to recharge mobiles but also data and DTH cards. The website has changed several times, to make it more user-friendly and easy to navigate.

Generally it takes users just three steps to complete the recharging process. The first one requires the adding of specific recharge details, before moving on to the payment option page. Paytm has expanded its list of accepted financial instruments, which now includes debit, credit, prepaid cards and net banking. Customers can save their payment method of choice and use it again the next time they want to recharge.

Paytm is occasionally offering discount coupons worth an average of Rs. 2000 when customers recharge. The corresponding discount codes are sent to the email of eligible customers immediately after the payment is processed. Clients can use the website, download the mobile app or contact customer support directly by dialing a phone number.

The online shopping experience at Paytm is underwhelming if you compare their service with industry leaders. Despite having more than 1000 categories to browse, they’ve got nothing on Amazon, Snapdeal or AliExpress. The company takes great pride in its hassle-free return for those products that don’t meet expectations. However, there were plenty of complaints about how this system works and disgruntled customers were pretty vocal.

Screenshot of Paytm Education Page
Screenshot of Paytm Education Page

The Paytm mobile experience

The mobile application for Paytm was launched immediately after the service became available. It has changed several times, to include the new service options and accommodate the e-commerce store. Airtel, Vodafone, Idea, Reliance, BSNL, Tata, Aircel, MTS, Uninor and MTNL users can recharge using this app. Not only mobile networks are covered, but also landline bill payments and users can also pay the electricity bills.

The latest features of the Paytm mobile app enable the payment of admission and registration fees for educational institutes. This as well as the recharging of Metro cards is possible, but restricted to India. The introduction of the Paytm Wallet opened a new window of opportunity for those who shop online. Instant payments can be made on most Indian companies and clients can also pay for Rides with Uber, Meru, Taxiforsure or Jugnoo

With the advent of mobile technology and the introduction of their own wallet, Paytm has started to offer more bonuses and special deals. They claim to offer cashback on bill payments, mobile recharges and shopping. The mobile app has the full functionality of the desktop version and users can review their order history. It is also possible to track your order to know at all times where the item bought might be.

What are others saying about Paytm?

Paytm has been around for six years and over this period of time, it had its fair shares of complaints. Generally, the customers are happy enough as to return to the website and place more orders. However, the ones who are disgruntled make a pretty compelling case. Most complaints are in regard to the time it takes to have a canceled order refunded. In some cases, clients had to wait months in a row and they claim that interaction with customer support was cumbersome.

Screenshot of Sell on Paytm Page
Screenshot of Sell on Paytm Page

There were instances in which clients said that the website malfunctioned and this caused them to buy two identical items. Some were upset with the cashback promos and accused the company that despite spending large amounts, they didn’t get the bonus. Apparently, users need to enter a certain promotional code when placing an order. It is not possible to do it later on and customer support claims that there’s nothing you can do about it.

My rating of Paytm

Paytm is probably a good option for those who use the service for mobile recharging and bill payments. They have the experience and offer an alternative to spending long hours queuing. The fact that they only cater for Indian customers obviously has a deterring effect on those who reside beyond borders. However, as an e-commerce venture, they are so far behind the leaders that clients would be better off taking their business elsewhere.

Even Indian shoppers prefer Flipkart and OLX, which offer better customer protections and have more items on display. The upside of being able to sell as well as buy items gives these companies the upper hand. There is also the sensitive issue of the numerous complaints made by former customers in regard to cashback and reimbursements. Many of them are probably not genuine, but it’s always difficult to take chances when there are so many other worthy alternatives. As far as I’m concerned, I’m willing to give them the benefit of doubt, but can’t go beyond a review score of 5.5 out of 10.

Overall Score