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India’s Prime Minister Narendra Modi has announced a new app to encourage more Indians to pay online after demonetization last month. Called Bharat Interface for Money (BHIM), the app works on top of the country’s UPI mobile banking platform and uses a mobile number as the payment address. The app, which has the simplest user interface for any UPI-enabled app to date, is positioned as a substitute for plastic cards and point-of-sale terminals.
To use BHIM app, a user is required to register their bank account with the app, set a UPI PIN for the account, and use their mobile number as payment address. Users also have the option create a custom payment address. The biggest selling point for the app is it works across all banks and users do not need to use separate apps in case they have multiple accounts in different banks.
BHIM also supports QR codes to make it easier for people such as merchants to enable people to pay online. A user can pay as much as Rs 20,000 ($300) in a day.
UPI is India’s audacious project to make person-to-person and e-commerce transactions swifter and easier. The penetration of bank accounts, and by extension, debit cards and credit cards remain low in India.