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PhonePe alleges mass burning of QR codes by Paytm staff, files police complaint

A Paytm spokesperson said that the employees involved in the burning of the QR codes have been suspended by the company, pending investigation.

August 01, 2022 / 05:53 PM IST
Representative image.

Representative image.


Unified Payments Interface (UPI) leader PhonePe has approached police authorities against employees of competitor Paytm, alleging that some officials burnt PhonePe's QR codes. The incident is said to have taken place in Greater Noida and the company has approached Surajpur Lakhnawali police station, said a PhonePe spokesperson.

Walmart-owned PhonePe has lodged the complaint based on a video of a pile of its QR codes being set ablaze. The spokesperson added that it was able to identify three employees of Softbank-backed Paytm in the video, including a Paytm Area Sales Manager (ASM). One of the three identified is a former PhonePe employee.

ALSO READ: Wary of Phone Pe and Google Pay's duopoly in UPI market, MPs plan to raise issue in Parliament

In response to detailed queries by Moneycontrol, a Paytm spokesperson said, "This matter is between Phonepe and its ex-employees. We condemn the act committed by these rogue employees, who have already been suspended from the company pending a detailed investigation."

"We do not tolerate any act of misconduct and always stand by the highest standards of work ethics. Paytm has been the pioneer of QR code payments in the country and takes great pride in significantly contributing to the growth of India’s digital ecosystem," the spokesperson added.

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Moneycontrol reviewed a copy of the complaint letter filed against the three Paytm employees dated July 29. The letter alleges that the act was carried out in order to cause harm to the reputation and business of PhonePe.

"We have full confidence in the police and they are taking the necessary steps at the moment," the PhonePe spokesperson added.

Reacting to the Moneycontrol story, PhonePe founder and CEO Sameer Nigam tweeted that police should investigate the matter and justice must prevail.

QR codes help merchants i.e. shop and business owners accept UPI payments from customers. PhonePe enjoys a 46 percent share in overall monthly UPI transactions, followed by Google Pay at 38 percent and Paytm Payments Bank at 13 percent. These include person-to-person (P2P) and person-to-merchant (P2M) transactions.

However, competition has been heating up on the merchant side with PhonePe, BharatPe and Paytm fighting to get a larger share of merchants to use their applications for payment acceptance.

This has also been aided by the drastic rise in UPI transactions over the past year owing to a boost in acceptance of digital payments post the pandemic. Monthly transaction values have doubled from Rs 5.47 lakh crore in June 2021 to Rs 10.14 lakh crore in June 2022.

PhonePe has 32 million merchant partners across the country using its QR codes. Paytm says it has a merchant base of 26.7 million as of March 31, 2022.
Priyanka Iyer
Deepsekhar Choudhury Deepsekhar covers tech and startups at Moneycontrol. Tweets at @deepsekharc
first published: Aug 1, 2022 05:53 pm
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