Beem It Review: Hands down the most enjoyable way to send and receive money.
Note: This article was first published on 7 December 2020 on Brioched.
Remember when you paid first for your high school reunion of 30 people when the restaurant said they couldn’t split the bill and how much of a nightmare it was to get the money back after?
How many times did a friendly reminder unintentionally (or intentionally?) turn into spam because your friend kept ‘forgetting’ they owed you 50 for last week’s night out?
Maybe you need new friends, or maybe your friends are great in every aspect apart from paying you on time (but then are they really your friends though?).
If it’s the latter, Beem It might just make splitting the bill with friends a little easier (if you can convince them to download!) – especially if you pick the tab up with a larger group and need to coordinate IOUs after.
With backing from three out of the four big banks (CommBank, Westpac, NAB), Beem It launched in 2018 as a solution to ‘awkward money moments’ through an app which allows users to instantly send and receive payments without any fee along with other features like requesting money from contacts and auto-reminders for requests.
As of June 2020, Beem It has over a million downloads.
In November 2020, Eftpos acquired Beem It in trying to capture digital wallet (like Revolut, perhaps?) market share through a business model pivot.
First, a refresher on the differences between the three:
Still too complicated? Just think of NPP as a postal company, Osko as the postmen and PayID as your home address.
While a plethora of financial institutions have jumped on the New Payments Platform (NPP) bandwagon (100 to be exact, as of 2nd Nov 2020), there are still a handful of financial institutions (like HSBC AU) that still do not support Osko/PayID payments.
This comes with the added issue of some banks not supporting PayID while supporting Osko payments and others only allowing the mobile phone number linked to the account as a PayID, depsite PayID supporting ABNs, ACNs, ABRNs, ARSNs and emails in addition to landlines, international and domestic mobile numbers.
Instead of operating on the NPP, Beem It utilizes Visa and Mastercard’s network to take money out of the sender’s account and deposits it into the recipient’s with the Eftpos refund system – operating like a debit card.
This means virtually all financial institutions that issue an Australian debit card (credit card for certain transactions) are compatible with Beem It for instant transactions, even if they do not support Osko fast payments.
Apart from being initially backed by some of the biggest banks in Australia, Beem It claims it is secure and only shares your encrypted data ‘for government regulations, or for security and fraud purposes.’
Aside from pretty much just saying they are secure on the FAQ, Beem It does not offer much more information.
Furthermore, their policy states that they ‘adopted an approach that is consistent with the Privacy Act, the Australian Privacy Principles (APPs) and the APP guidelines.’
Beem It also states in the policy that how they use your information is disclosed in their product disclosure statement and terms and conditions.
I have been using Beem It for over a year and have not had any security issues. It’s also an incredibly painless login experience as it supports Face ID/Touch ID/fingerprint authentication.
Tapping into the app, you’re greeted with four main functions of Beem It, which are:
You can send up to AUD 2k daily, with a limit of AUD 10k a month.
Personally, if I have to pay someone and they’re on Beem It, I’d pick Beem It over going to my bank app any day, just because of how much easier it is through Beem It:
Beem It has large buttons and text coupled with fluid transition animations – making Beem It to banking like lubricant is to a rusty door hinge.
No more fiddling with BSBs and account numbers or dealing with slow transactions with banks not on the NPP.
The app supports QR codes as well, so you can hold your phone up after a dinner and get everyone to scan and transfer to you within seconds. Pretty nifty.
Payments also have increased flexibility with scheduled and recurring payments built into the app – you can set these payments by tapping on the ‘now’ button after typing the reference (or ‘tap to schedule’ on Android).
The hardest part about using Beem It to pay my friends is the fact that many of them don’t even have a PayID set up – much less using Beem It!
The same way you can execute instant payments to others, you can do between your different bank accounts.
Beem It allows you to link up to 5 debit cards, which means you can instantly transfer up to AUD 2k daily or AUD 10k monthly within the accounts from within one app.
This is especially handy if you need to quickly and effortlessly move small amounts between accounts for activities like getting 4% off a Woolies giftcard on the Macquarie Marketplace when you’re not using Macquarie Bank as your go-to.
‘Request’ is probably my favourite feature alongside ‘split’, which allows you to request up to AUD 2k daily.
The reason I enjoy this feature thoroughly is because aside from being able to set up a request within seconds – all the other person has to do is swipe to fulfill my request which makes it unbelievably easy for your friends to pay you back. So much so they might actually enjoy it!
If your friend is being a Forgetful Frank, Beem It even takes care of the reminders by auto-reminding them through a push notification every two days.
However, note that requests expire after 14 days – at that point I’m not even sure if checking whether your request has expired would be the pressing issue.
The ‘split’ and ‘group’ features go hand in hand like bread and butter in making bill splitting frictionless.
All you have to do is enter the total amount and Beem It automatically splits the bill equally among the number of people you have chosen.
There is even the option to manually adjust the amounts after the auto-split if the payments are not equal.
The ‘group’ feature allows you to create set groups with your friends, allowing you to manage your group’s running expenses and request payment from the entire group with a swipe.
This feature is perfect for group vacations, housemates who are renting together, weekly sports groups, and so much more.
Easily eradicate the headache around managing payments for groups when you can send and receive instant payments effortlessly.
In the centre of the menu tray is what Beem It tries to make the home of all your loyalty cards – supporting loyalty cards from brands like Uniqlo, T2 Tea, Sharetea, Guzman y Gomez, etc.
Rarely do I use or find use for this feature because most of my loyalty cards are stored in the default Wallet app on iOS.
However, I do see the appeal if one uses loyalty cards that are not supported by apps like Wallet (iOS) or Google Pay (Android) and would love to consolidate them into one app. It also allows the adding of custom cards using barcodes or manual entry of the number.
At the end of November this year, Beem It launched the ability to purchase and send gift cards on the app which supports over 50 retailers.
It has attempted to make digital gift cards a special experience through somewhat mimicking the unwrapping of physical gifts through added interaction with received gifts, along with the usual GIFs and unique stickers.
This is somewhat similar to Revolut’s gifting feature, except that Revolut limits free tier users to a maximum of two gifts a month – if digital gifts are your jam, you’ll love Beem It allowing you to send as many gifts as you want.
The only thing that is odd about this feature is that the gifting feature is limited to gift cards and does not support cash. Beem It has animations like the Lunar New Year red packet, but does not offer any special interaction with the gift once received aside from the usual sticker animation.
Freelancers and smaller businesses are able to take advantage of Beem It’s checkout API and custom QR codes in addition to the aforementioned features.
Businesses wishing to improve their acceptance of digital wallets are able to apply to Beem It’s pilot program to have it as one of the checkout payment options for either their website or mobile app.
It purports to offer:
Beem It has over a million active customers as of Nov 2020, which is no small feat. However, with giants like Apple Pay, Google Pay and Paypal being leaders in the one-tap checkout payment space due to the size of their user base, I am sceptical as to whether Beem It can even make a dent in their market share. Perhaps Beem It may be able to offer smaller businesses lower transaction fees – but at what cost?
Another option for businesses is the fee-free use of custom and/or counter display QR codes to accept payments.
With a custom QR code, businesses can set a predetermined amount and description for recurring purchases, usually for a singular service or product.
Counter display QR codes on Beem It are reminiscent of other payment platforms that mainly use QR codes in stores to accept payments, like WeChat Pay, AliPay and GrabPay, which are popular in Asian countries. This allows merchants to instantly receive payments through customers scanning the code, entering the amount and sending it through – all within a minute or less.
Possibly the best part about setting up a QR code for your business is that you are able to do it all within the app.
Eftpos recently acquired Beem It to develop its position in the digital payments ecosystem.
Stephen Benton, Eftpos’ CEO said that it plans to add ‘lifestyle management services, loyalty and management of receipts. It will also provide its digital identity solution, connectID, to Beem It.’
I think Beem It will be able to leverage Eftpos’ partnership network and funding to possibly diversify its business model into other features like:
Of course, this is dependent on their actual roadmap and plans – subject to regulation, funding and partnerships.
I use Beem It all the time when managing payments with friends. Why?
It’s a joy to use and saves me time.
Some will say that it is redundant considering I can do almost everything Beem It does within my regular banking app.
To that I say: why take the crowded suburban roads if you can use the empty freeway? The destination may be the same but if using the freeway shaves 10 minutes off my ride, you can bet I’m going to use it.
Nevertheless, don’t take my word for it. Maybe you don’t go out a lot or you are that friend who won’t download so you don’t get auto-reminded by an app to pay your friend for the festival tickets he bought a month ago.
Anyway, the best way to see if you’ll like the way a car drives is to just rock up to the dealer for a test drive. Book your test drive for Beem It right now by downloading it on the App Store or on Google Play.