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Bhim App Teething Troubles…

Bhim App users let down because of slow adoption of UPI by eCommerce platforms.

The NPCI is getting impatient with eCommerce platforms and major merchants because of slow adoption of UPI. As a result, those who have downloaded the Bhim application are unable to find avenues to make transactions, according to a report in the Economic Times.

Flipkart, Amazon, Paytm and IRCTC are taking time to integrate with Bhim. Flipkart owned mobile wallet PhonePe and Snapdeal owned mobile wallet FreeCharge only use UPI transactions to top up the money within the wallet. Flipkart has introduced UPI transactions on PhonePe for five percent of its users, and is in the process of a wider rollout. Money added to the PayTm wallet through UPI is negligible. Online sales from eCommerce platforms are expected to form the bulk of payments from Bhim. AP Hota, managing director of NPCI, told ET that he was not happy with the 70,000 transactions a day the UPI platform was seeing, before the launch of the Bhim app.

 After the demonetisation of high value currency notes, the value of UPI transactions surged to Rs 700 crore in December, compared to Rs 90 crore in November. However, by both volume and value, only a fraction of cashless transactions are conducted through UPI. 400 merchants have signed up for UPI over the course of the previous week, and some ticketing and travel sites have also adopted the platform. However, none of the top 15 merchants using UPI are the top merchants in the country. NPCI says the eCommerce sites claim they are in the process of negotiating with banks to implement UPI, every time the NPCI asks them about integration.

The UPI platform for cashless transactions was introduced back in April 2016. Narendra Modi launched the Bhim app on 30 December. The Bhim app is a common app to make transactions directly through the accounts of all the banks that have signed up on the platform. New banks are constantly being added. Some of the banks have released their own apps that support UPI transactions. Bhim is the app for cashless transactions developed by the NPCI itself.

Although the UPI platform has been around for some time, the app has only just launched, and is the most popular free app on the Play Store right now, with over 3 million installs. The wide user base can encourage eCommerce platforms and major merchants to speed up adoption of UPI.

There were some problems at launch, with users having trouble binding the app to the phone and verifying the number. These problems have been taken care of in a bug squashing update, the first of many lined up improvements and updates. Industry stakeholders have called the Bhim app a game changer for cashless transactions in India. The app allows direct fund transfer from bank accounts, and is simpler to use than a mobile wallet. UPI needs to succeed for India to transform into a less cash economy. The Bhim app has only be launched on Android as of now, users of other platforms including iOS, Windows Mobile and feature phones can use NUUP for making cashless transactions by dialling *99#.

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