Promoting his ambitious vision of a cashless India, Prime Minister Narendra Modi launched BHIM app on December 30, 2016 at Digi Dhan Programme held in New Delhi, a major breakthrough that would not only help in cutting the ATM queues in the cash crunch but will make online transactions much faster and secure.
Developed by National Payment Corporation of India (NPCI) Bharat Interface for Money, BHIM is a digital payment app named after Dr. Bhim Rao Ambedkar. BHIM is based on Unified Payments Interface (UPI) which means you can link any UPI supporting bank account through it.
For UPI based payments, BHIM is currently supported by most of the Indian banks. SBI, ICICI, Axis, HDFC, IDBI, Allahabad bank, Kotak Mahindra bank are to name a few. Initially there is a limit of Rs.10,000 per transaction and a daily limit of Rs.20,000. With an initial support for Hindi and English languages, multiple language support is one of the forthcoming features of the app.
Soon you will be able to pay using your fingerprint after your BHIM account is linked to your Aadhar card. This will definitely come as a relief for farmers, poors and vendors.
To avail the services you need to register your bank account on BHIM app and set a UPI PIN which you need to enter before every transaction. After mobile number verification you can start transacting. Your mobile number becomes your payment address (PA) although you have the option to create a custom payment address.
To send or request money you simply need to enter the mobile number or payment address of the merchant or customer and enter the amount to be paid or requested. For quicker transactions you can even pay through QR code. Merchant needs to generate his QR code in BHIM app which needs to be scanned by the customers at the time of sending money. To send money to non UPI supported banks you have the option to pay either using IFSC or MMID.
With over 3 million downloads as notified by NITI aayog CEO Amitabh Kant and over 5lakh transactions in the first 2 days it has already been a great hit among Android users. BHIM climbed to the top of the Google playstore on 2nd January and became India’s most downloaded app in the free apps category. Currently BHIM app is only available on Android and is scheduled to be launched on iOS within 10 days, whereas Windows users have to wait a little.
Much to your surprise, those with a feature phone or without an internet connection can transact too through USSD by dialing *99#. After this you simply need to follow the different numbered instructions that appear as a popup menu that allows you to pay money or check balance or history.
How is it different from other private wallets like Paytm and freecharge?
Unlike Paytm or freecharge BHIM is not actually a wallet. In Paytm you can store money in your e-wallet but instead of storing money on BHIM, transactions are directly done through your bank account. Since BHIM is UPI based, you can transfer money directly to any UPI based application or any bank account even if it is not linked to BHIM.
It will be interesting to see how Paytm and other private digital payments app battle out BHIM in the coming few months. Till then share your experience of using BHIM in the comments below.