Ever since the government of India undertook its demonetisation drive, withdrawing old Rs 500 and Rs 1000 notes from the system and placing restrictions on withdrawal of cash, people from across the country have been turning towards digital payments as the only viable alternative. From plastic money to instant bank transfers and from digital wallets to account-linked transactions, the country is exploring newer ways to go cashless.
Digital wallets, also popularly known as mobile wallets have been around for a while now. It is only when popular telecom operators of the country launched their own mobile payment applications and wallets that people came to understand this form of digital payment. Mobile wallets grew more popular when cab hailing applications such as Uber and Ola tweaked their transaction models and included various wallets to accept payments, starting the craze for huge discounts and deals offered by mobile wallets on each use.
Following the November 8, 2016 announcement by the government, just about everyone — from street-side vendors to local grocers — has started accepting payments through one or other of the popular digital wallets in India. PayTM, PayUMoney, Mobikwik, Freecharge and M-pesa are some of the most popular mobile payment applications currently in use in India.
Cashing in on the digital transactions wave in the country, Prime Minister Narendra Modi launched the indigenous mobile payment app, BHIM. On Friday, December 30, 2016, the Prime Minister inaugurated the Digi-Dhan Mela in New Delhi and also launched this mobile application for the Unified Payments Interface (UPI).
This means that the application will allow payments from all banks and financial institutions in the country. It is called BHIM (acronym for Bharat Interface for Money) as a tribute to Dr. Bhim Rao Ambedkar, the architect of the Indian Constitution. “Currently, business transactions are conducted by way of currency notes and coins (but) the day is not far when all business transactions will be conducted through the BHIM application,” said the PM.
All You Need To Know About BHIM
- The BHIM app has been launched by the NCPI (National Payments Corporation of India). It is a mobile application based on UPI (Universal Payments Interface).
- BHIM is currently linked to over 30 public sector banks and private banks including State Bank of India, HDFC Bank, ICICI Bank, Kotak Mahindra Bank, Central Bank of India, IDBI, Union Bank of India and Indian Overseas Bank.
- BHIM is currently available on the Google Play Store. This means that only Android users can install and use the app for now. The application will soon be available at the iOS store for Apple phone users.
- A user can add multiple bank accounts to BHIM and toggle between accounts to make a payment. BHIM does not require an active internet connection to operate.
- While BHIM works on UPI, it also allows users to send and receive money from non-UPI accounts using the IFSC number and MMID code of these accounts. It allows its users to make and receive payments by scanning the merchant’s personalized QR code.
- The BHIM app will be fortified with strong security features keeping the users’ information safe and transactions seamless.
- Transactions on BHIM can be made using one’s fingerprint. PM Modi assured the users that their fingerprints will soon become their banks.
- BHIM will empower users to make total transactions worth Rs 20,000 within a 24-hour window. Each individual transaction has a maximum limit of Rs 10,000.
- BHIM is different from a mobile wallet in the sense that it is not used to store any money, nor does it require to be recharged. It simply allows users to access their money in bank accounts and pay or receive money from other bank accounts.
- The Prime Minister also urged the people of India to try the app. He asked everyone to download and make at least five transactions through BHIM.
- To incentivize the use of the BHIM application, the PM announced two initiatives – the Digi-Dhan Vyapar Yojna and the Lucky Grahak Yojna.
- BHIM users conducting transactions between Rs 50 and Rs 3000 each day will be eligible to win prizes under the Lucky Grahak Yojna. These prizes will be available for distribution for 100 days from the date of launch.
- The BHIM application is soon set to be integrated with the Aadhar. The PM said in a statement, “After two weeks, when the new (Aadhaar-based) system will be launched, BHIM will be the biggest wonder of the world.”
- The BHIM application is available for free on Android, and is supported on OS version 2.3.3 and higher versions.
2 Million Downloads
Not even a week has passed since the launch of the BHIM application by the Prime Minister of India, and the download count of the app has already crossed 2 million. It is among the top applications available at the Google Play Store in India. It still remains to be seen how many of these users turn out to use BHIM on a regular basis.
The application is indeed easier to use than digital wallets but lacks some of the benefits extended by mobile wallets such as discounts and freebies. For the common man who wishes to use digital transactions simple and easily without accessing cash or even credit/debit cards and cheques, BHIM is a great option.
If the government finds a way to make BHIM transactions work in all government offices and even in the corporate sector, it will surely bring about a cashless revolution in India.
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