Aditya MadanapalleJan 03, 2017 10:40:51 IST
Bhim, a simple and secure app for cashless transactions was launched four days ago, and has since then gone on to become the top app on the Google Play store. While the app is incredibly convenient, it has not been launched for Windows Mobile or Apple devices yet (it is expected to land on iOS in 10 days). Feature phone users do not have the option of installing the application. However, there is a simple way to make cashless transactions using USSD, without the need for an app, or even an internet connection.
Mr. A. P. Hota, MD & CEO, NPCI, said "With the launch of (Bharat Interface for Money) BHIM App at the hands of Prime Minster, we have been witnessing a surge in downloads. Volume growth would be seen in a few days. Providing UPI experience on feature phone is something we are proud of. The purpose of a new common app is to provide uniform experience of UPI and also to support those banks who have not developed any UPI app for their customers as yet. As far as feature phone is concerned, no application is necessary."
The method works on all phones. The transactions are made using Unstructured Supplementary Service Data (USSD), and can be done using the National Unified USSD Platform (NUUP). The interface is similar to a smart menu for accessing services from telecom operators. Consumers simply have to dial *99# on their devices, and the same number works across all operators. On dialing, users have to enter the short name of the bank, which is a three letter code, or the first four letters of the Indian Financial System Code (IFSC), or a two digit bank code known as the multimodal code. Here are the short three letter codes, as well as the first four letters of the IFSC, and the multimodal codes for banks.
In a smartphone, there might not be an option to enter the letters, so the two digit bank codes have to be used. The two digit multimodal code is not available for ING Vysya Bank, so if you have an account in that bank and an iOS device, using this method is not possible. There are a number of financial and non financial services available through NUUP. The bank account in question has to be linked to the mobile number being used. Users can send money, request money, check balance, check profile, check pending requests, view a log of transactions or manage the UPI pin. A menu with these options shows up, and users have to feed in the appropriate number.
Transferring funds is possible through a number of identifiers. The Mobile Money Identifier (MMID) can be used, which is a seven digit code. The IFS code and the account number can be used to transfer money. IF the beneficiary has a bank account linked to an Aadhaar card, then the Aadhaar card number can be used for fund transfer. Users can choose the know MMID option to find out the MMID allocated to them by the bank account linked to the mobile number. Users can generate a M-Pin for authenticating mobile transactions, and change the M-Pin if necessary. The code *99*99# can be used to find out if a user's Aadhaar number is linked to any bank, and if so, which one.
The process for transferring funds is fairly straightforward. Users have to dial *99# and feed in either the IFSC, the Short Code or the multimodal code for the bank. Users have to then enter 3 for fund transfer through MMID, 4 for transfer using IFSC, and 5 for transferring using the Aadhaar number of the beneficiary. After the appropriate numbers have been entered as per choice of payment method, users have to enter their M-Pin passwords. A confirmation screen appears, showing that the transaction has been successful.
There are short codes available for accessing the service in regional languages. There is only an option for entering the three character short name or the four character IFSC code in the menu for regional languages. This means that the regional language interface can only be used on feature phones, and the option of availing the services supported by NUUP in regional languages is not available on Windows Mobile, iOS or Android smartphones. There are limited number of services available in the local language interface. Users can find out the bank balance, obtain the mini statement or transfer funds through IFSC and account number. Here is a video by NCPI explaining the whole process.
There is a limit of Rs 5000 per transaction done through NUUP. The beneficiary does not need to have registered for mobile banking services for receiving funds through IFSC or an Aadhaar card linked to a bank account. Before availing the service however, customers have to opt for mobile banking services with the bank. NUUP works on only GSM handsets, and is not available for CDMA handsets. Telecom service providers charge a nominal fee per transaction, the government has set a ceiling of Rs 1.50 per transaction.
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