Beem It is a new Aussie app using real-time e-Payment banking technology. It will pay, request, and split the bill with friends. It works across all Australian banks.

Beem It (website here) is a collaboration between the Commonwealth Bank, National Australia Bank and Westpac, so its pedigree is good. It also explains why the app needs to thoroughly verify who you are before activating.

The best way to describe it is that it requires at least two consenting adults (14-years or older). Its current version allows them to make a request for money one may owe the other and receive it. All in real time.

Beem ItBeem It CEO, Mark Wood, said, “Unlike using cash or bank apps, Beem It is a brand new, instant person-to-person payment experience for all Australians. It removes money from the moment and aims to help Aussies avoid awkward conversations about money with only a few taps in the app.”

 

Beem ItA practical use is to split a bill at a restaurant. Rather than fumble with cash when you both want to pay by credit card you send a Beem It request and if the other party approves money is instantly transferred to you.

Or you do the morning office coffee run. Beem IT makes it very easy to collect micropayments from your colleagues. The current limit is $200 per day.

“We’re going to do pay, request, and split better than anyone else does in the market,” Wood said. “We do that in an instant, real-time way. It’s not me sending you $20. It’s me engaging with you on the app.”

Sign-up is a little complicated

It may feel intrusive (perhaps a better word is comprehensive) as it asks a lot of questions. Download the app from Google Play or Apple Store.

Why is it intrusive? Because as a financial tool to transfer and receive money it is governed by all sorts of legislation.

You will

  • Need a form of verification (Drivers licence or passport).
  • To tell it the absolute truth about your age, address, email, phone etc.
  • And the final hurdle is that you need a Visa or Mastercard debit card (not credit card) from a major Australian bank.

“We store very little information on people, a lot of it we use to verify and check … we use that for verification, and then it’s gone,” said Wood.

Everyone you want to Beem It with needs the app too. If they don’t have it, then a Beam invitation will offer them the app. Or there is a 3D barcode that can direct a potential user to it. But because the app has stringent sign-on requirements don’t expect new users to do that in real-time.

Read the Beem It fine print – Terms and Conditions

It is a free service – that usually means the product is you! While I am comfortable that my private data will not be sold and used against me there are some T&Cs you should be aware of.

  • Other Beem It users who have your mobile number in their contacts list will see that you are a registered Beem It user.
  • It may exchange your information with other related bodies corporate who may use your information for any of the purposes they can.
  • It may also exchange your information with any regulator or law enforcement agency who may request personal or transaction information or require that it be lodged for any reason.
  • Beem It may also exchange your information with others who are not related bodies corporate for example, your representatives, our service providers, other financial institutions (for example, in relation to a chargeback claim), potential investors or funders of the business, enforcement and government authorities, relevant public registers and payment system operators (for example, MasterCard or Visa).

Not insidious. But you need to know that you are placing a lot of faith in the company to protect your data.

GadgetGuy’s take – Beem It shows promise but needs more

You can’t yet use the app to

  • Make micropayments to a restaurant or café unless they have Beem It.
  • Scan a bill using the smartphone camera.
  • pay be credit card. It only accepts Visa/MasterCard debit cards.
  • Transfer to non-Beem IT users (as NPP can).
  • Store loyalty card details.

Version 1.X is about getting market awareness, and other features will be built-in as users prove the need.

“We’re looking at what other things we can add on there, credit cards, whether we add NPP as an option in the future … the customer will drive us,” Wood added.

I am a little concerned that because it is free, it will need some way to monetise it. After all, someone must pay the 40 or so staff in Sydney. Let alone ultimately give a return on investment to its owners. I suspect the payments service will remain free but later versions may offer pay-for services.

The future of Beem It is for quick and secure instant payments. Whether it can compete with Google Pay, Samsung Pay, Apple Pay, many digital wallets, Bank’s apps, and other NPP (new payments platform PayID) apps will be a matter of who gains the most market share and visibility.