While the Bharat Interface for Money (BHIM) app has seen 1.5 million user registrations in the last three days, lack of interoperability between the UPI platform and non-bank wallets and low usage by merchants remain hurdles to increased adoption of the UPI, AP Hota, managing director and CEO of the National Payments Corporation of India (NPCI), told FE.
Tell us about how the BHIM app is doing.
As per the latest position, 5.1 million downloads have happened and that has materialised into user registration to the tune of 1.5 million. All downloads do not necessarily result in registration. The number of downloads is the largest on the Google Play Store in the last three days. We have also received some feedback from customers to make it more user friendly. It is only customers of the 35 banks that have enabled UPI that can use the app. If the customer’s bank is not certified (to enable UPI), he cannot join. That is the reason there is a wide gap between downloads and registrations.
What is the latest on mobile wallets joining the UPI platform?
They have been pleading the RBI for access to the UPI and the RBI is examining. This much we know…Quite a few travel sites and ticketing sites as also Paytm are using it. Paytm customers can use it to top up their wallets. Paytm is gearing up to become a payments bank, so they will have their own handle. With the BHIM app, they will not even need their own handle, but definitely they may like to have their own software for the wallet.
Has USSD (unstructured supplementary service data) gained traction since November 8?
USSD is also gradually becoming a part of the UPI. It is a feature-phone channel and it is on the USSD channel that UPI transactions are happening. All these days, people were using USSD primarily for non-financial transactions. When I say non-financial transactions, I mean balance enquiry, mini-statement for the last five transactions, queries related to Aadhaar seeding, queries relating to the overdraft account.
Previously, we used to be about 1.5 lakh a day. Now it’s about 6 lakh transactions a day. Financial transactions used to be just about 1,000 a day. Now it has moved to about 7,000 to 8,000 a day. When I say financial transactions, I mean money transfers.
Any measures to push UPI adoption with merchants?
We are working on this because they (merchants) had some concerns on the pricing. Now that the RBI has brought down the rates (MDR on PoS transactions), accordingly the interchange rates also have to be brought down.
Any progress on bringing cooperative banks on to UPI?
The RBI gives the licence (for offering mobile banking) on a one-to-one basis. The Chandrababu Naidu committee has requested for blanket permission for all coop banks, including district central coop banks, to be brought under the fold of the UPI and mobile banking. So the RBI has to take a call