How BHIM is trying to catch up with other mobile wallets

The Bharat Interface for Money (BHIM) has seen a great many downloads since its launch in December 2016. But all those downloads did not lead to activation and usage. Out of the 19.16 million downloads, only 5.1 million users were able to link their bank accounts with the app. In contrast, other mobile wallets and payments apps show bigger number of users. For instance, Oxigen wallet currently has 30 million active users while MobiKwik has 55 million. Paytm is on the top of the pyramid with 200 million users.

As of now, one finds several mobile wallets and payments apps for digital transactions, but the Unified Payment Interface (UPI) and BHIM, developed by the government, could be the ultimate move, allowing instant money transfer from one bank account to another. Although more and more UPI-based payments apps are getting launched every day and boasting new features, BHIM has recently come up with features like Aadhaar pay, referral bonus and cashback offers to make it more popular. Here is a low-down on how BHIM is catching up with the incumbents.

  • BHIM Aadhaar Pay

There are several mobile payment apps out there, but BHIM Aadhaar is taking it to the next level as it lets you make payments without a smartphone. BHIM Aadhar allows one to make payments using Aadhaar number-linked bank accounts. The transaction only requires the payer’s fingerprint for authentication, which also eliminates the use of point-of-sale (PoS) machines for card swiping. What’s more, India has a population of more than 125 crore and about five crore merchants, but there are only 15 lakh PoS machines at present.

Commenting on BHIM Aadhaar, A.P. Hota, Chief Executive and Managing Director of National Payments Corporation of India (NPCI) said, “This will directly cater to about 40 crore bank account holders spread across the country whose accounts are linked with Aadhaar. It is a huge opportunity for enabling digital transactions as about 99 per cent of the adult population is now Aadhaar-enabled. At present, over 30 banks are participating in this scheme.”

BHIM Aadhaar works on the NPCI’s existing product – the Aadhaar Enabled Payment System (AePS). One can pay using BHIM Aadhaar without the use of a smartphone because in order to make this kind of payment, a customer does not require the app. Now people need not carry debit or credit cards or process payments through mobile apps to make cashless transactions. With the introduction of BHIM Aadhaar, people can get rid of plastic money, need not remember passwords of different cards, accounts, and digital payment wallets, and do not run the risk of these getting stolen or hacked.

  • New schemes on BHIM Aadhaar Pay app

Two new schemes have been introduced by the government to increase the number of users and merchants. These include BHIM Referral Bonus Scheme (for customers) and BHIM Merchant Cashback Scheme. Let us take a quick look at what they offer.

  1. BHIM Referral Bonus Scheme (for customers): This scheme has been introduced to get more customers on board. Customers operating under it can earn referral bonuses by referring this app to new users. Bonuses are available for both referrer and new users, but the referral will get activated only after three successful transactions made by the new user. Once that happens, the referrer and the referee can get a minimum sum of Rs 50. In addition, one can get a referral bonus of Rs 10 per successful transaction for referral. A new user gets Rs 25 for downloading the app and making a transaction through it.
  2. BHIM Merchant Cashback Scheme (for merchants): This has been introduced to promote acceptance of digital payments and enhance transactions through the BHIM app among merchants. Under the scheme, a merchant will get a cashback of Rs 100 every month for 50-100 transactions. Merchants also get 50 paisa for each valid transaction after they cross 100 transactions provided these transactions are above Rs 25 and at least 20 are from unique customers. The reward section on the BHIM app will  display the cashback received by a merchant.
  • Lucky Draw Scheme: Offers, discounts and cashbacks often draw users towards mobile wallets. In keeping with this trend, the NPCI came up with two lucky draw schemes – the Lucky Grahak Yojana for consumers and the Digi-Dhan Vyapar Yojana for merchants. The first one gave away Rs 1,000 daily to 15,000 customers and also bestowed a weekly prize of Rs 5,000, Rs 10,000, and Rs 1 lakh. The second scheme gave away a weekly prize of Rs 2,500, Rs 5,000 and Rs 50,000 to merchants. The lucky draw scheme came to an end on April 14, 2017, post which the referral schemes were launched.