Aadhaar Pay to be launched shortly, to debut with SBI and 4 others

NEW DELHI: After Prime Minister Narendra Modi announced on December 30 that biometric based payment system Aadhaar Pay will be launched shortly and will revolutionise the payment ecosystem in the country, the government is ready to go live with the solution in the next couple of days.

According to a senior government official, Aadhaar Pay will be introduced in the country first with five banks that includes the country’s largest public sector bank the State Bank of India (SBI). The other banks are Syndicate Bank, IndusInd Bank, and IDFC Bank. Bank of Baroda and Punjab National Bank are also in the process of launching it at the earliest, the official added.

“The Prime Minister during the launch function of BHIM said that Aadhaar Pay — whereby Aadhaar enabled payments will happen – will be launched shortly. Now five banks are ready to launch it,” said the official. The person said that to enable the new payment system, the Unique Identification Authority of India (UIDAI), has also come up with detailed specifications on what kind of registered devices will be allowed. “Some people had highlighted some security concerns with it. If we want Aadhaar to proliferate, we need detailed guidelines on the kind of the devices that can be deployed,” said the official.

The government has also set up a timeline of March 31st for all banks to launch on the platform.

Aadhaar-enabled payment system, or Aadhaar Pay, will be an app for merchants which will enable them to receive payments through biometric authentication of the customer, provided their bank accounts are linked to their Aadhaar number. The biggest advantage through this method of payment is that the customer will not need a credit or debit card, or even a smartphone.

A pilot was conducted in fair price shops in Andhra Pradesh where shopkeepers are accepting payments from PDS beneficiaries to test the systems. The idea takes off from the existing Aadhaar-enabled payment system (AEPS) used by bank business correspondents (BCs) in rural areas to disburse and accept cash, using micro ATMs.

The official said that one of the reasons behind the delay in the launch is that detailed specifications on the point of sale machines were not available. “Now that guidelines are there and other security concerns have been taken care of, we expect more banks to join the system,” the official added.

Almost 112 crore people in the country have Aadhaar and around 40 crore bank accounts have been linked to the unique identity number so far.