Aadhaar-enabled payment coming soon
The Dollar Business Bureau
The government has unveiled a path-breaking payment method, routed in the revolutionary Aadhaar Card, a unique identification mechanism that uses biometrics. Soon, the Indian citizen will walk into shops and settle his bills using his Aadhaar number, making wallets or mobile phones redundant for the purpose of making payments.
"We are going to start Aadhaar Pay. People can visit any merchant, share their Aadhaar number and verify themselves using biometrics to pay and receive money," Electronics and IT Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad said.
Not specifying a date for its launch, the Minister said that Aadhaar Pay will soon be implemented. The new payment idea has already roped in 14 banks, and is in the process of enrolling other banks.
Bharat Interface for Money (BHIM), a mobile payments application recently launched by the government to boost digital transactions, is also now compatible with Aadhar Pay. The new payment mechanism has already entered a testing phase in Andhra Pradesh, with few banks rolling out their applications for the same.
Aadhar, the world's largest national identification number scheme, has successfully enrolled about 111 crore Indians, covering 99% of all Indians above 18 years of age, and 91.7% of all Indians. Although there have been concerns regarding breach of privacy , Ravi Shankar Prasad denied that privacy was compromised in any way.
"We all know the Aadhaar was started by previous government but at that time it was only a digital identity of citizen of India. Under the government led by Narendra Modi, due to various initiatives taken, it has become a powerful tool of financial and future transformation," the IT Minister said.
"There are 49 crore bank accounts linked to Aadhaar. Every month 2 crore accounts are being seeded with Aadhaar," he added.
The Aadhaar payment route has already reached 33 crore transactions in rural India. Since demonetisation, 8.4 crore transactions have taken place through Aadhaar Enabled Payment System (AEPS); of which, 3.73 crore were from December 2016, and 2.06 crore in January 2017 (until 15th) alone. October and November 2016 saw 2.57 crore and 2.69 crore transactions respectively.
Stressing the economic benefits of the payment scheme, IT Minister said that Aadhaar transactions, during 2014-15 and 2015-16, have saved about Rs. 36,144 crore.