India’s ambitious Aadhaar biometric citizen registry is starting to make some impactful connections with the country’s financial sector.
A major new initiative called Unified Payment Interface is leveraging Aadhaar to enable digital banking services for a wide swatch of the population. The system has been organized by the country’s banks, and will allow citizens to text and email money transfers in connection with their Aahdaar identities. While some critics are concerned about the system’s transaction fees, others are diving in, with major online retailer Flipkart already working on a mobile app based on UPI.
Meanwhile, DCB Bank has introduced the country’s first biometric ATMs, which allow users to perform transactions via fingerprint authentication and without any need for PINs or even bank cards. While it’s just a pilot project at a corporate office right now, DCB Bank managing director Murali Natrajan says the solution was relatively inexpensive, and expects it to reach the bank’s entire ATM network within 12 months.
These developments highlight the rapid pace of technological evolution that Aadhaar is helping to drive in India. And with a billion citizens now enrolled, these moves – particularly the implementation of UPI – should help to dramatically improve banking access and convenience for the country’s population.