The bold move of demonetization by Prime Minister Narendra Modi was aimed at multiple goals. Increasing digital transactions is considered as one of the most important goal among many other goals like curbing black money and stopping crime financing.
On the front of digital transactions or the aim to move towards Cashless India, the government has come up with a couple of schemes like Lucky Grahak Yojna and Digi-dhan Vyapar Yojna. These two schemes were just like any other referral schemes to market a product. However, the government didn’t stop here they went a step ahead and launched BHIM app (Bharat Interface for Money) to enable fast, reliable, secure and easy to use cashless payments system through any smartphone.
BHIM app is also a tribute to Baba Saheb Ambedkar, who was a sharp economist apart from a political thinker. The best part of this, it also works with a feature phone by entering the USSD *99#. The USSD has almost all the features of that of BHIM app.
Here’s how to set up a BHIM account:
A user needs to have a smartphone, internet access along with UPI enabled bank account. The user should also have a valid debit card with his mobile number linked to the bank account. If you are ready with all this, then you are ready to go.
During the registration, the app will send an SMS from your phone to verify your number (this typically costs Rs.1.50 or even less based on your mobile service provider). BHIM is available both on Android and iOS. One important thing to note at the time of registration is – the mobile number which is linked to the bank account should be present in the same phone as that of BHIM app because it will auto-verify the mobile number, unlike by sending an OTP that is used by other players.
BHIM uses VPA (Virtual Payment Address) of the form xyz@upi or 9014949xxx@upi to send and receive money.
There are three reasons why you should use BHIM:
- BHIM is quite different from Payment wallets like PayTm or FreeCharge. Wallets deduct money from your bank account and credit them into their wallets before making a transaction. There is no mediator like a wallet in BHIM app, transactions take place directly from the bank accounts and refunds also will be credited into the bank accounts directly.
- No more waiting for an OTP before doing a successful transaction because BHIM uses predefined PIN to make transactions. It is the easiest way to transact and takes less than a minute for a successful transaction. So, goodbye to those annoying 4-6 digit OTPs that sometime never arrive.
- Third and the final reason is security. It has two step verification. First is the “passcode” to open the app and the next is “Pin” to make the payment. Presently, both passcode and pin can be same for some banks but this will change in near future.
I have been using this app since January 2017 and have easily transacted more than 50 times. It is very fast and also works on 2G networks. There were some issues with the payments to the merchant sometimes but the money deducted was refunded instantly.
It is supported by wallets like PayTM and FreeCharge also. Presently, I am using this for every transaction that it supports. Out of excitement I even asked many of friends to try it out and guess what we pay money for each other with this app currently. The fact that money gets transferred instantly unlike NEFT & RTGS makes it unique from others. I request you people reading this to try it out and I’m sure you will love it.
Suggestions forwarded to the NPCI team:
Even though the app is very good, it can have some improvements. I sent three of them to the NITI Aayog CEO Amitabh Kant who in turn forwarded the email to the team of BHIM. Following are the suggestions I have written to the development team of BHIM:
This was on 20th February, Mr. Kant was quick to respond and forward it to the team of NPCI (National Payments Corporation of India, the non-profit umbrella organisation currently with 10 promoter banks including government-owned and private banks):
CEO of NPCI AP Hota too replied positively to my query:
After one and half months of wait, BHIM has been updated to version 1.3 with one my suggestion as the main update i.e. address book integration! COO of NPCI Dilip Abse confirmed this on twitter:
— Dilip Asbe (@dilipasbe) April 14, 2017
I can’t tell you how happy I was to see my suggestion becoming a reality! I request you all to try out the app because it is high time to ditch One Time Passwords!