Beem It vs Osko – how do they compare?

New payment app Beem It has officially launched, so Australian consumers now have two options to make a real-time payment – Beem It and Osko – but how do they compare?

Both are a step forward in enabling real-time payments for consumers, but are also a work in progress.

Here is a summary of the key differences between Beem It (B) and Osko (O):

How do they work?
B: Is a payments app available on iOS and Android app stores. It uses the Visa/Mastercard debit rails for authorisation and eftpos refund rails to settle in real-time. Both the payer and receiver must use the app. If you send money to someone who doesn’t yet have the app installed, they will receive a text message with a download link, and as soon as their account is setup they will receive the money.
O: Is a New Payments Platform (NPP) overlay service and works through an existing mobile banking app or internet banking service. When you pay someone for the first time, a verification step may be necessary to confirm they are using Osko.

Who are they backed by?
B: Beem It is a joint venture between Commonwealth Bank, NAB and Westpac. However, a cardholder from any bank can use the service provided they have the right card type (see below).
O: Osko is operated by BPAY (which is owned by the four major banks). NPP is owned by 13 participating institutions including all the major banks and the Reserve Bank of Australia. Over 60 Australian financial institutions support Osko.

What accounts doe is it work with?
B: Any Australian Visa or Mastercard debit card with the eftpos logo on it. Currently you cannot use a credit card, but that is being worked on.
O: Banks accounts of institutions linked to the NPP, though a number of the banks are lagging in either their NPP implementation (e.g. ANZ, Westpac including St.George, BankSA and Bank of Melbourne, and Macquarie Bank) or participation in NPP (e.g. BoQ and Suncorp).

How do you register?
B: Registration is via the app and requires your full name, email, mobile number, address, date of birth, a form of ID (drivers licence, passport or Medicare card) and either an Australian Visa or Mastercard debit card details.
O: No additional registration is required to use Osko but you will need to register for a PayID. Once your financial institution has enabled PayID and Osko, they will contact you to let you know how to create a PayID via your usual internet of mobile banking service.

How are payments addressed?
B: By using a @user_handle, mobile phone number or scanning a QR code generated via the ap. If you need to accept payments for a business then a separate (business) mobile phone number is required. The app will also allow you to sync your contacts to show you which of your existing contacts is already using the app.
O: By using a PayID, which can be an email address, phone number (landline or mobile), ABN, CAN, ARBN or ARSN. If your bank does not support all PayID types, customers can still make and receive payments using a BSB and account number. This provides greater flexibility as you can create multiple PayIDs each linked to a different bank account (personal or business).

Privacy of payment addresses
B: When making payment, users see your first name and @user_handle only. No bank account details are displayed.
O: When making payment, users see your full name or business name and PayID. No bank account details are displayed.

Do they support requests for payment?
B: Yes, you can send a request to pay via the app to a contact or mobile number. As soon as they accept the payment request, you will see the money in your account. You can also generate a QR code for the other person to scan from their app to confirm payment.
O: Not yet, but this functionality is expected to be added later.

What is the maximum amount of money that can be sent?
B: The daily transaction limit is $200.
O: The daily transaction limit is based on the limits set within your financial institution’s PayID payment limits (e.g. CommBank customers can use PayID for payments up to $1,000).

B: Allows text and emojis to be sent with the payment message in the app. Payments show up on both the payer’s and receiver’s bank statements as an eftpos refund, e.g. REFUND PURCHASE BEEM IT.
O: Allows text and emojis to be sent with the message via your financial institution’s internet or mobile banking service. The payment description can be up to 280 characters.

B: Free to download and use. Though that could change down the track, with CEO Mark Wood saying that like all good start-ups, Beemit has “long-term commercialisation plans.”
O: Fees are dependent up each bank and the account that you use. Though generally no banks are applying fees for consumer payments.

So, which is better?
Beem It has the immediate advantages of being able to support any Australian Visa or MasterCard debit card, request for payments, as well as the ability to generate QR codes for payment.

With so many larger banks not live on NPP or Osko, not everyone is yet able to register for a PayID or even if you have one, the person you are trying to send money to may not have a PayID.

However, once all the major banks and regional banks support both Osko and NPP, and request for payment is made available, then Osko seems to provide much greater functionality with support for more account types, multiple payment IDs and higher transaction amounts.

The challenge for Osko is, how long will this take, and by that time will most Australians just be using Beem It instead?

Author: Mangala Martinus, Managing Director, Sydney, Payments Consulting Network.

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