The new BHIM app, that aims to make digital payments through mobiles fast and simple for people, has logged 1.1 crore downloads within 20 days of launch, IT Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad said. The Minister further said that the proposed Aadhaar-linked payment system – which Prime Minister had alluded to in his December 30 speech – would be launched “very soon” and four banks, including State Bank of India, are already on board for the new system.
“The download of BHIM app has touched at 1.1 crore. This enormous popularity of BHIM app is indicative of people’s passion for digital payments through new instruments,” Prasad told PTI. The BHIM app downloads which have shot up in a matter of a few days “shows how India is changing” with regard to adoption of digital payments and cashless transactions, the Minister pointed out. Prime Minister Narendra Modi, on December 30, had launched an indigenous digital payments app BHIM for fast and secure cashless transactions using mobiles. BHIM is a payment platform designed to make UPI and USSD payment modes simpler and usable across feature phones and smartphones.
On the new Aadhaar-based payment system which is in the offing, the Minister said that its architecture is being finalised, and it will be launched “very soon”. “There were certain issues which we have already clarified with the Reserve Bank of India and other banks, and about four banks including State Bank of India (SBI) have come on board and we are finalising the entire architecture as a flawless one, and we will launch very soon,” he said.
He said that once the new Aadhaar-linked payment system is launched, people would not even need their mobile phones or a smartphones for making payments. “With this system, the customers do not even need a mobile phone or a smartphone…they only need Aadhaar-enabled bank account. And we have got nearly 40 crore bank accounts linked to Aadhaar. Only the shopkeeper needs to have a smartphone, for feeding the Aadhaar number (under the new system),” he explained.
Digital payment channels like mobile wallets, USSD and RuPay have seen massive uptake and rise in transactions post demonetization on November 8. According to government data, the number of transactions on USSD (mobile short code message used mainly for banking services on feature phone) saw a whopping 5,135 per cent jump, from 97 such deals a day on November 8 to 5,078 on December 25. UPI transactions — which allows users to transfer funds from one bank account to another using a smartphone — grew 1,342 per cent, from 3,721 such transactions a day on November 8 to 53,648 on December 25.