As we move towards a cashless economy, digital payments have become a mainstay. What was earlier a distant dream to send and receive money in a few clicks, has now become a reality due to continuously evolving technology. Enter BHIM which was launched in December 2016 in lines with India’s vision to go cashless.
So, what is BHIM?
Bharat Interface for Money (BHIM) named after Baba Saheb Dr Bhimrao Ramji Ambedkar, is a UPI (Unified Payments Interface )-based digital payments application from the National Payments Corporation of India (NPCI). It facilitates instant mobile e-payment via all banks that support the UPI platform with or without internet connectivity through a virtual payment address.
The free app which is a step towards digital inclusion was launched by Prime Minister Narendra Modi on December 30, 2016, at a Digi Dhan programme at Talkatora Stadium in New Delhi and has over 17 million downloads till date. BHIM was initially launched on Google Play only for Android phones keeping in mind that the Indian market is dominated by Android. They have recently an app version for iOS phones while the Windows version is still in the works. The Android version supports 7 regional languages whereas the iOS version currently supports English and Hindi only which will expand soon.
During the initial launch, the BHIM app maintained the simplicity of the UPI technology but soon added several features based on customer feedback. It now lets you pay to Aadhaar number, report SPAM and introduced an improvised customer redressal mechanism with a drop-down menu, to name a few. The app currently facilitates payments of 43 banks (List of banks mentioned below) and is expected to bring 50 banks on board by the end of March.
|List of banks that support UPI payments through BHIM|
|Allahabad Bank Andhra Bank
Bank of Baroda
Bank of India
Bank of Maharashtra
Catholic Syrian Bank
Central Bank of India
City Union Bank
DCB Bank Ltd.
Indian Overseas Bank
Karur Vysya Bank
Kotak Mahindra Bank
Oriental Bank of Commerce
Punjab National Bank
South Indian Bank
Standard Chartered Bank
State Bank of Hyderabad
State Bank of Bikaner & Jaipur
State Bank of India (SBI)
State Bank of Mysore
State Bank of Patiala
State Bank of Travancore
Union Bank of India
United Bank of India
Yes Bank Ltd
|Coming Soon: Punjab And Maharashtra Co-Operative Bank Limited, Punjab & Sind Bank Jammu and Kashmir Bank|
How does BHIM work?
You can register your bank account with BHIM and create a UPI PIN for the bank account. You can use your mobile number as your Virtual Payment Address (VPA) or create a custom address to start transacting. If you have already signed up for UPI-based payments on their bank accounts, can use the BHIM app to carry out digital transactions as long as their mobile numbers are linked to it. Refer to the steps below to begin using BHIM:
- Download and install the BHIM app (from the Google Play Store or App Store)
- If you’re opening the app for the first time, select your preferred language
- Verify your mobile number
- Set a 4-digit passcode. You’ll need to enter this number to access BHIM every time. So remember it!
- The app will then ask you to select your bank.
- If your account is UPI activated, it will automatically show the linked number. If your account is not UPI activated, set the UPI PIN by entering the last six digits of your debit card number and the expiry date.
- If you want to create a VPA address for yourself, download and install your bank’s mobile banking app, click on the UPI tab and create a simple, easy-to-remember VPA. It’ll be in the format of an email address, i.e., yourname@upi.
- You can now begin transacting! Type in the mobile number or VPA address to send money. Once the app verifies the payee, all you need to do is type in the amount and click Pay.
- If you need to send money to someone who doesn’t have UPI, tap on the three dots above the Send Money option. You’ll see an “Account + IFSC” option where you can enter the details.
Note: You can only link one bank account to the app at a time. So, if you have two bank accounts linked to your number, you would need to disable the selected bank and go back to the Select Bank option.
The highlight of the BHIM app is that you can use a single app for all UPI transactions and doesn’t require you to download and install different UPI-linked banking apps for it. You can send (through VPA or QR code), receive, request for money, check your account balance and switch between multiple bank accounts all through one app.
How is BHIM different from mobile wallets?
The safety features make BHIM far more secure as no bank account details are revealed to send money through the app; all you need is the VPA. With mobile wallets, all one needs is your phone’s unlock code to access the app, but with BHIM, there are two layers of security; your phone’s passcode and the app passcode. The app gets locked after three incorrect tries to access it.
Through BHIM, you can send money to non-UPI accounts too by entering the IFSC code and account number. In the case of mobile wallets, both parties need to have the app installed to send and receive money through it.
In the case of mobile wallets, you would need to fill your wallet with money first before transacting (which has a maximum limit too). Once the amount has been transferred, the money remains in the recipient’s wallet and incurs a transaction fee of 1-4% to transfer to the bank account. With BHIM, you need to make sure that your bank account has sufficient funds for the transaction and it transfers money directly to the recipient’s bank account.
BHIM lets you use its services even if you are not connected to the internet. You can dial *99# to make instant offline financial transactions through your mobile using a USD-mobile banking service at the rate of Rs. 0.50 per transaction.
Generally, mobile wallets have a transaction limit of Rs. 1 lakh per month whereas the transaction limit on BHIM is Rs. 20,000 per user on a single day with Rs. 10,000 being the upper limit on a single transaction for all online transactions. Rs. 5000 per day is the cap on all offline transactions through BHIM.
To compete with mobile wallets that have several perks and attractive cash back offers, BHIM has introduced lucky draw schemes for both customers and merchants too. If the NCPI can manage to make BHIM’s offers more consumer-friendly than the cash backs that mobile wallets offer, it is only a matter of time before BHIM takes over the e-payment industry.
However, while BHIM has certainly helped the country in the post-demonetisation days, it still needs further improvement and technological refinement before it becomes India’s default payment app. It remains critical to further create awareness among customers and merchants to ensure the mass-adoption of BHIM through schemes to promote the app.
Have you used BHIM? Do let us know your thoughts in the comments section below!