On Tuesday, the government launched an Aadhaar card-linked payment system which will enable consumers to forego their debit/credit cards and use their fingerprints.
The new app available on the Google Play Store is called Aadhaar Pay; Aadhaar Pay will exclude private fees charged by companies like MasterCard and Visa.
The government is targeting 25 billion digital transactions in 2017-18.
Aadhaar Enabled Payment System
What is it?
In 2012, the government introduced 'Aadhaar Enabled Payment System' (AEPS) which is an initiative of the National Payments Corporation of India.
AEPS essentially allowed people to conduct banking transactions over 'hand-held devices' like micro ATMs.
People can perform basic transactions such as checking balance, cash withdrawal, and cash deposit by using Aadhaar number, fingerprints and the bank's name.
Government encourages payments via biometrics
The government is keen to promote digital transactions in rural areas and is therefore pushing 'Aadhaar Pay'.
Aadhaar Pay, a merchant version of the 'Aadhaar-enabled payment system', will allow you to make cashless payments by use of fingerprints.
At present, SBI, Andhra Bank, IDFC Bank, IndusInd Bank and Syndicate Bank have already gone live on Aadhaar Pay and other banks will soon launch pilots.
Aadhaar Pay system
The 'Aadhaar Pay' system when implemented has the potential to do away with the point of sales machines (POS), use of plastic money (credit/debit cards) and having to input PINs and remember passwords.
How does Aadhaar Pay work?
An 'Aadhaar-enabled payment system' (AEPS) is already in use.
Aadhaar Pay is the merchant version for AEPS and an alternative for online transactions that require cards, PINs, and passwords.
Aadhaar Pay would work on Android-based phones equipped with an attached 'biometric device'.
Merchants will be able to accept cashless payments from those who give Aadhaar number, the name of the bank and fingerprint for authentication.
Promoting Aadhaar Pay
How and Why ??
The push towards Aadhaar Pay is to ensure that digital transactions can be undertaken without hassles of a card or PIN.
The government has asked banks to enroll 30-40 merchants per branch to enable them to accept cashless payments from their customers.
Since a biometric device costing ₹2000 will be required, the government is working on "an incentive model" to encourage adoption by merchants.
How secure is it?
Unique Identification Authority of India CEO, AB Pandey, stated that Aadhaar Pay transactions are more secure than other modes of digital transactions as biometric data is encrypted. If a merchant tried to misuse fingerprints, banks would be alerted with merchant details.
Now, use your biometrics to pay bills