The de-monetization drive started by the government in November 2016 gave rise to widespread financial inconvenience to the citizens of the country. With old Rs 500 and Rs 1000 notes becoming illegal tender, added with the unavailability of the new Rs 500 and Rs 2000 notes, people were forced to resort to using online money transfer via net banking, mobile banking, online or mobile wallets. However, the use of making digital payments is a luxury which is not quite available to members belonging to the less privileged sections of the society.
With an effort to provide these people with the facility of making digital payments in light of the troubled availability of new Rs 500 and Rs 2000 notes, the government has a new system of digital payments with the launch of the BHIM (Bharat Interface For Money) app. Named after Dr. Bhimrao Ambedkar, this app was launched on Dec 30, 2016 and will allow them to make payments with just their fingerprint impression for all Aadhaar-based payments. The app itself is based on the Unified Payments Interface (UPI), which has been introduced by the NPCI, and is linked directly to a bank account of a UPI supporting bank. Users can send and receive funds to and from other UPI enabled accounts. The BHIM app is currently only available for Android users on the Google Playstore.
Important Features of BHIM App
The BHIM app has made it much easier for users to transact using UPI based payments. There are several notable features of the BHIM app which users will benefit from.
- The app allows you to transfer money to any bank account which may or may not be UPI enabled.
- The app does not put any restriction on the timings when money can be transferred. One can transfer funds any time of the day and even on holidays.
- The BHIM app allows users to transfer money to another user simply by knowing their mobile number.
- You don’t need a virtual payment address or bank account number.
- While the user will need internet access to use this app and service, they do not need to activate the internet banking facility to use this service.
- The user does not need to register the payee’s in advance for exchanging funds.
- The BHIM app allows you to transfer funds almost instantly.
- Users can also transfer money by verifying the money transfer with the help of fingerprint authentication.
- The BHIM app is also designed to work on feature phones which do not have internet accessibility.
- The ‘Scan and Pay’ facility has been included to allow users to make lightning fast payments especially at shops.
- The app also allows users to check their bank balance of the account that is linked to the app.
- The app allows you to choose between Hindi and English as your preferred language. Other languages will soon be added.
- With the BHIM app, users can directly call the customer care service of their respective bank in case of a problem. Customer care numbers of all banks are pre-fed in the app.
- Users can download and share their QR code which will be helpful for receiving payments.
Benefits Provided By BHIM App
The BHIM app comes with a number of benefits which will prove to be especially useful and handy for users. Some of the notable benefits are.
- After the download, the BHIM app does not require a data connection to work on a smartphone.
- The application is very simple to use and only required the user’s fingerprint for exchange of payments. Not having a smartphone or mobile phone is not a pre-requisite.
- With this app, there will no longer be any requirement of having Point of Sale (PoS) terminals.
- Unlike transaction charges that are levied by card companies such as Visa or MasterCard, the usage of the BHIM app is absolutely, for making and receiving payments. No fee will be charged by either the bank of the merchant for accepting or making payments. No bank and merchant transaction fee is applicable.
- The BHIM interface can also be used for transferring funds quickly and conveniently with the help of UPI. Collect money immediately and make direct bank to bank payments with mobile number or payment address.
Shortcomings Of BHIM App
Having been launched very recently, the BHIM app is still a work-in-progress. While the app is loaded with benefits and features, it also carries some limitations as of now, which may cause inconvenience to users. Currently, users can only add one bank account at a time on the app. Also, users can only have two VPA (virtual payment addresses), out of which the first VPA would serve as the default containing the user’s mobile number. The second VPA can be set up by the user. However, as the app is developed further, these limitation will soon be removed, allowing users to do more.
How to use BHIM
The BHIM app is very easy to download and use. For each function, there are simple steps involved for one to get started with using the app.
Installing The App
- Go to the Google Playstore and search for the BHIM app. Install the app.
- Choose your preferred language. Select the language in which you wish to use the app.
- In the next step, verify your phone number. The app will require permissions to view/send SMS from the phone.
- In case you have 2 SIMs active on your phone, you will be asked to choose the SIM with which you wish to operate the app. Choose the number which is linked to your bank account.
- You must set a passcode which will act as the PIN to operate the app. Set the 4-digit PIN number and confirm your PIN input.
- After entering the PIN, you will be logged into the app and can view the app dashboard.
Adding Bank Accounts
- You must add a bank account to link it to the app in order to send and receive funds. You can only link one account at a time in the app.
- Choose your bank from the list provided and select your account which you wish to link.
- You can change your linked bank account in the future by repeating the aforementioned steps.
Set UPI PIN
You must set up your UPI PIN as a final step for authenticating payments. The UPI PIN is similar to MPIN used in other UPI-based apps. Here’s how to set up your UPI PIN.
- Click on the main menu of the app and got to Bank Accounts.
- Select ‘Set UPI PIN for your linked account.
- If you have set up your UPI Pin before, the app will let you know the status. In case you haven’t, you will need to provide the last 6 digits of your debit card and also its expiry date.
- Once you have provided the debit card details, you will receive an SMS with the OTP for authenticating the UPI reset request.
- If you wish to change the UPI PIN, all you have to do is enter the existing PIN once and the new PIN twice.
- To begin sending money from your BHIM app, click on the ‘Send Money’ option.
- Next, you will be asked to select or enter the receiver's registered mobile number, Aadhaar Card Number or Payment Address. You can either select the mobile number from your Contacts or enter it manually.
- Now, enter the amount of money you wish to send. The bank linked to your BHIM app will be selected by default.
- Enter your UPI PIN and click on ‘Send’.
- Users can also choose to make payments via the ‘Scan & Pay’ option where a QR code will be required.
The steps to request money are quite similar to those involved in sending money. However, for requesting money, you do not need to enter the UPI PIN. The status of the transaction will display as ‘Pending’ until the money has been received. Users an also request for money by sharing their QR code with the payer.
Banks Supporting the BHIM App
Following the launch of the BHIM app, several leading banks lost no time in supporting this new system of payments in order to provide added convenience to their customers. The banks which have integrated the UPI based payment service include ICICI Bank, IndusInd Bank, Axis Bank, State Bank of India, HDFC Bank, Standard Chartered Bank, Punjab National Bank, Kotak Mahindra Bank, Vijaya Bank, Allahabad Bank, South Indian Bank, Canara Bank, Syndicate Bank, Federal Bank, Karur Vysya Bank, Andhra Bank, Bank of Maharashtra, United Bank of India, Bank of Baroda, Union Bank of India, Catholic Syrian Bank, RBL Bank, Central Bank of India, Oriental Bank of Commerce, DCB Bank, Karnataka Bank, Dena Bank, Indian Overseas Bank, Indian Bank, IDFC Bank and IDBI Bank.
- How long does it take for transactions to complete over the BHIM app?
Transactions over the BHIM app are extremely fast and can be completed in under 20 seconds. After the transaction is complete, the user gets an SMS regarding the transaction on their mobile.
- Do I need mobile banking activated with my bank account to use the BHIM app?
No, you do not necessarily require the mobile banking facility to be activated with your bank account. You do need to have your mobile number to be registered with your bank to receive transaction related SMS.
- Are there any transaction limits in BHIM?
Yes, there are certain limits in terms of transactions done via the BHIM app. Users can carry out a single transaction up to the amount of Rs 10,000. The maximum value of transactions allowed in 24 hours is up to Rs 25,000.
- What will happen if I have lost my phone with the BHIM app on it?
The BHIM app can only be accessed with the help of the passcode. To transfer money, one needs to enter the UPI PIN. However, in case your phone is stolen, you must inform your bank immediately and also get the linked mobile number blocked.
- What do I do if i have carried out a transaction on the BHIM app but haven’t received an SMS about the transaction?
If you carry out a transaction via the BHIM app, you will get the notification about it in the app itself. However, any SMS delay could be due to network congestion or operator issues. In case you do not receive an SMS for up to an hour following the transaction, get in touch with the BHIM customer support team.
- Will there be charges levied for carrying out transaction through BHIM or any other UPI-based app?
No, there are no charges that will be levied for transactions carried out through the BHIM or any other UPI-based app. Banks may however levy a nominal amount towards IMPS or UPI transfer fee.
- What will I need to start using the BHIM app?
To begin using the BHIM app, first you will need a smartphone, access to the internet, account with an Indian bank which supports UPI-based payment and a mobile number that is linked to the bank account.
- Which mobile platform does the BHIM app work on?
The BHIM app has currently been developed to work only on the Android smartphone platform. The UPI-based payment system has not been developed for the iOS or Windows smartphone platform yet.
- Are there any restriction in terms of who the user can send money to using BHIM?
No, there are no such restrictions in terms of usage. Funds can be transferred to any other user who also uses a UPI-based app payment system or has a (VPA) Virtual Payment Address of UPI. The bank's account linked to BHIM must support the UPI-based payment system. You can simply transfer money by entering the account number of the bank and its IFSC code.
- Will there be any change in how I use the BHIM app if I switch to another network provider?
No, there will be no change. You can continue using the app as before.
- What happens if I change the handset on which I was previously using the BHIM app?
In case you have changed your handset altogether, you will need to download the BHIM app on the new phone. After doing that, you must login using the mobile number and password which you were using previously. After this, the app will automatically verify your information and log you into the app.
- I can’t remember my UPI PIN. How can I reset it?
It is very simple to reset your UPI PIN if you’ve forgotten it. Just go to the home screen of your BHIM app and click on Accounts. After clicking on accounts, the new screen will show you a tab labeled ‘Forgot UPI-PIN’. All you need to reset your PIN is your Debit card and the OTP which you will receive to verify your number.
- How do I check my transaction history in the app?
To check your transaction history, go to the app’s home screen and click on ‘Transaction History’. Here you can view all your pending and past transactions.
- Are there any restrictions regarding the number of UPI transactions I can make?
Yes, currently NPCI only allows users to carry out 20 UPI transactions per any from any linked bank account.
Newly launched Bhim app sees over 14 million registrations
Bharat Interface for Money (Bhim) app, which was recently by the government of India has had over 140 lakh registrations since its launch. According to the IT Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad, the app will bring forth the power of mobile phones for making digital payments and financial inclusion. He also stated that the government will introduce two more new schemes – Cashback Scheme for merchants and Referral Bonus Scheme, to promote the usage of the Bhim app. The minister added that the government plans to create an ecosystem that will make India an international hub for electronics manufacturing. More than 250 investment proposals have been received for electronic manufacturing in the last two years, amounting a total investment of Rs.1.26 lakh crores.
14 February, 2017