How to Transfer Money Using NEFT

National Electronics Fund Transfer, also known as NEFT, allows people to transfer funds electronically from one bank account to another. This money transferring system was launched in 2005 and has given way to IMPS, UPI, and many other payment solutions that are in use today.

Even with faster payment modes available, NEFT holds its own place in the financial market. It is particularly relevant for companies and individuals who wish to transfer large sums of money. This is because IMPS and UPI come with daily transaction limits that vary from bank to bank.

Thus, it is essential to understand how you can go about transferring funds by using NEFT.

Transferring money using NEFT

Transferring funds through NEFT does not require the consumer to follow complex transfer procedures. The following steps are simple to follow and do not eat up a lot of time.

1) Select a beneficiary

Whether you are transferring money to a family member or to a merchant, you must have their specific banking information in order to initiate the transaction. The relevant details include the beneficiary’s name, IFSC code, bank account number, account type, and bank name.

You must log into your net banking portal with your user ID and passport. Then, you must click the option for third-party transfers. Within the page that you are directed to, you may find a series of options including ‘transfer within the bank’, ‘transfer via card pay’ and transfer to other banks’. Select the right option based on the destination bank of the beneficiary.

You can also add a new beneficiary on this page. While adding a new beneficiary, the page will present two options for you to select. These options may be ‘add beneficiary of another bank’ and ‘add beneficiary within the same bank’. Of course, the wording may differ, but the intent will remain the same. Select the right option based on the destination bank of the beneficiary. Once you have added all the essential details, you may receive an OTP on your phone. This OTP will help you verify that you do want to add the concerned person as your beneficiary. Confirm the same in order to continue.

Depending on the bank you operate with, it can take anywhere between a few hours to a few minutes for the bank to add the new beneficiary. Once the beneficiary has been made active, you may receive a confirmation SMS or email. Again, this depends on the bank.

2) Enter the funds you wish to transfer

Once you have selected the beneficiary you wish to transfer funds to, you must enter the right amount of funds. To do so, you must first confirm the bank account number from which you want to deduct the funds. If you have a single bank account, you can skip this step. Otherwise, select the account as per your convenience.

After you have selected the account, you will be asked to enter the amount to transfer. Ensure you type the correct amount.

You may have to verify the transaction through a pre-set PIN code or an OTP. This security measure helps banks prevent fraud or theft. Once you have entered the verification code, you will receive a text message on your registered mobile number confirming that the payment amount has been deducted from your account.

On average, it can take 30 minutes or more for the beneficiary to receive the payment. Depending on the bank you use, you may get a confirmation text regarding the transfer of the funds. If your bank does not send these messages, you can always ask the beneficiary to confirm the same with you.

Do keep in mind that in order for a NEFT payment to work, both you and the beneficiary have to be a part of a bank branch that is NEFT enabled. As not all bank branches are under the NEFT network, this is something that you will have to confirm beforehand.

What are the transaction limits for NEFT payments?

The following are the transaction limits that are placed on NEFT payments:

Limit on Amount
Minimum payment Re 1
Maximum payment No upper limit
Payments made to Nepal Rs 50,000 per transaction

Transaction fees

There are no transaction fees for NEFT! As a means to promote digital transactions, RBI has scrapped transaction fees for all NEFT transactions, irrespective of your bank.

Time limit for NEFT payments

At present, NEFT payments can be made between 8 am and 7 pm. But from December 2019 onwards, RBI will allow NEFT payments to be made round the clock.

Conclusion

NEFT payments are an extremely convenient form of transferring funds electronically. It is a quick and cost effective system for transferring funds, and it also accommodates transfers to NRE and NRO accounts. You can find out if your bank branch is NEFT enabled by checking their website.

How to Transfer Money Using IMPS?

Launched in 2010, Immediate Payments System (IMPS) is now one of the most widely-used forms of electronic payments across India. The total volume of payments through this system reached 1,047.91 million from April – November 2018. The total value of these transactions was Rs 9654.30 billion, according to NCPI data.

IMPS fund transfers occur via four different modes of payment:

  • Through the bank account and IFSC code
  • Through a registered cell number and MMID
  • Through traditional ATMs
  • Through SMS

IMPS’s ability to integrate different payment modes has affected the way consumers conduct payments today. IMPS offers a key factor that keeps consumers hooked–user-friendly processes while transferring funds. This article explores how consumers can transfer funds through IMPS by using any of its modes of payment.

Transferring funds via IFCS codes and bank account numbers

Using IFSC codes and bank account numbers is the most commonly used payment method when it comes to IMPS. This method works for transferring money to anyone who has a bank account (irrespective of which bank they work with). Consumers need a working internet connection along with mobile banking or net banking in order to conduct transactions. In order to transfer money, you must:

  • Enter your password to log into your account
  • Select the beneficiary you wish to transfer funds to or add a new beneficiary, as required. To add a beneficiary, you must enter the person’s details as requested in the form you may see on the screen. The details will include name, bank account number, IFSC code and so on. You may also receive an OTP via SMS to verify the addition
  • Enter the amount you wish to transfer
  • Verify that all details are correct. If you send money to the wrong person, you cannot undo it without getting in touch with the person!
  • Confirm the payment by clicking the send or confirm button

Once these steps are carried out, the appropriate fund amount will be transferred from your account to the beneficiary’s account within seconds. It is important to note that the process may take longer if you are transferring funds to a new beneficiary for the first time. Depending on your bank, the process can take anywhere between 30 minutes to 2 hours. However, this delay only occurs for the first time. Once the transfer is successful, subsequent payments occur within seconds.

Transferring funds via MMID and cell numbers

In order to transfer money through your cell phone number, you must first register your number with your bank. Nowadays, this can be done online. However, should you require assistance or have queries, you can always initiate the process at your nearest bank branch. Once you register the number, your bank will give you a 7-digit MMID code. This code is essential for initiating IMPS transfers through this process.

Once you have the MMID number, you can transfer funds by following these steps:

  • Enter your password to log into your bank’s mobile banking app
  • Click on the fund transfer section to open it and select the IMPS option
  • Enter the beneficiary’s details such as account number, MMID code, and mobile number
  • Verify the transaction by entering the OTP sent you to via SMS. You can also use an MPIN to verify the transaction

After you have completed these steps, you will receive an SMS from your bank confirming the transfer for funds. The beneficiary may also receive a message regarding the inflow of funds from your account.

Transferring funds via ATMs

This is perhaps the least popular form of payment, as one requires the beneficiary’s debit card number to initiate it. Most people do not feel comfortable sharing their debit card details (unless the funds are being transferred by a family member), which is why this payment mode is not as well liked as the others mentioned in this article. However, transferring your funds via ATM is as safe as the other methods. Consumers must be careful about sharing debit card details with strangers!

To transfer funds via ATMs, you must:

  • Swipe your debit card and enter the 4 or 6 digit PIN to verify that you are the right user
  • Select the option that says ‘Funds Transfer’
  • Select the IMPS option on the screen
  • Enter the beneficiary’s details, as requested by the form on the screen
  • Enter the amount that you want to transfer and then confirm it by clicking the confirm button or send button

You will receive a text message confirming the transfer of funds. If you plan to use this method, you must keep in mind your bank’s daily limit on ATM fund transfers. These limits vary from bank to bank and it is best to consult their website for the same.

Transferring funds via SMS

In order to send funds via SMS, you must know the exact format that your bank requires to initiate the transfer. For instance, some banks follow this format:

IMPS <Beneficiary Mobile No><Beneficiary MMID><Amount><MPIN>

You will find your bank’s format on their website and you can use a screenshot of the same for reference if you need to transfer money and do not have a working internet connection. Once you follow the steps, you will receive an SMS that confirms that the funds have been transferred.

Here’s a snapshot of what you need to initiate IMPS payments:


IFSC/Bank account

Mobile/MMID
ATMSMS

IFSC code
YesNoNoYes

Bank account number
YesNoDepends on bankNo

MMID
NoYesNoYes

Registered mobile number
YesYesDepends on bankYes

Debit card
NoNoYesNo

Internet
YesYesNoNo

Conclusion

Using IMPS payments is quite simple. You will need basic information related to your beneficiary’s account to add a new person to your list. Once the person is added, you only need to select their name and enter the amount you wish to send each time you want to transfer funds to them. This ease in transferring funds has made IMPS one of the most used electronic payments systems in India!

How to Make Your First Transaction Using the BHIM App

The Bharat Interface for Money (BHIM) app was launched in 2016 by Prime Minister Narendra Modi and has seen over 36 million downloads since then. 102 banks across India have partnered with this app in order to facilitate Unified Payments Interface (UPI) services.

This app offers the following services for individual customers:

  • Transfer money to their friends or family members without incurring any additional costs
  • Scan QR codes at shops and pay for their purchases accordingly
  • Pay vendors online using UPI transactions by selecting the ‘Pay By UPI’ option while checking out
  • Monitor their transaction histories

Similarly, BHIM offers business-specific features to vendors such as:

  • Receive payments straight in their bank accounts
  • Generate QR codes and display them in their stores to facilitate scan-and-pay options. QR codes can also be sent digitally to enable payments

Before you make your first transaction using the BHIM App, there are certain transaction limits that you must keep in mind. These are:

  • You cannot initiate over 20 transactions within a time slot of 24 hours-
  • Single transactions cannot exceed their daily threshold limit, which is Rs 20,000
  • Within 24 hours, the cumulative value of your transactions cannot go over Rs 40,000

Additionally, it is important to note that BHIM does not charge any transaction fees. It also supports various payment modes.

Payment modeQR codeIFSC codeVirtual Payment AddressBank account number
BHIM supportYesYesYesYes

Transferring money using BHIM

BHIM UPI

BHIM allows users to transfer money by using 4 different methods. These include using their Virtual Payments Address (VPA), IFSC code or bank account number, registered mobile number and by scanning QR codes. In order to send money via any of these methods, you must first log in by using your 4 digit code.

Pay via VPA or mobile number

Once you are logged in, you must select the ‘Send Money’ option by clicking on it. This will open a space where you can enter the receiver’s details. You can enter the person’s VPA or mobile number. The app will then show you details regarding the payee so that you can verify that you are sending money to the right person. Add the amount you wish to transfer and click on the ‘Pay’ button. You must then authenticate the payment by entering your PIN.

Pay via IFSC code or bank account number

If you wish to pay by using the IFSC code and bank number, click on the three dots you see on the top-right corner of the screen. This will present the option to pay by this method. Enter the receiver’s IFSC code and bank account number in order to verify the payment.  Add the amount you wish to transfer and then click on the ‘Pay’ button. You must then authenticate the payment by entering your PIN.

Pay via QR code

Finally, you can also conduct a transaction by using the QR code of the person you wish to send the money to. Select the ‘Scan and Pay’ option from the payment modes. This will open your phone’s camera so that it can scan the QR code displayed at a store or a person’s cell phone. Once the app scans the code, it will ask you to enter the amount you wish to transfer. Click the ‘Pay’ button and use your PIN to authenticate the transaction.

The person who is meant to receive the money will be notified by the app.

Receiving money using BHIM

As a vendor or an individual, you can request for money in three ways – VPA, QR code or your registered number. Of course, you must be logged in to initiate any requests. Once you have logged in, you must select the ‘Receive Money’ option. Enter the payer’s VPA or registered number and verify their specific details. You can then enter the amount of money you need to be transferred, along with comments. Similarly, you can generate a QR code and share it with the right person to initiate the request.

For businesses, this form of requesting payments is quite basic. While it may suit smaller vendors to send simple requests, businesses with a larger client base may require a more sophisticated approach. Generating an invoice is the most professional way to initiate a payment process with a client. Automating the process with regular clients for monthly payments can make the process even more efficient.

Conducting offline transactions using BHIM

The BHIM App also offers an offline mode for users who do not have smartphones or regular internet access. Using this offline version is quite simple. Users must dial *99# to reach the landing site and then follow the instructions that they receive via SMS. By replying to the SMS, they can initiate the transactions they wish to fulfill.

Conclusion

The BHIM App offers simplicity at its best. Users can send or receive payments in a few short steps. There are no elaborate processes, just simple selections, and verifications. Transaction histories can help users determine whether payments have been made, making it easier to solve disputes, if any. Moreover, the app comes with a detailed FAQs section to help users navigate their way through payments and answer any queries that they may have.

How to Download and Register on the BHIM App

The BHIM App is one of the many UPI payment apps available in India. Having crossed the 16 million downloads mark within its first year of launch, BHIM strives to facilitate the creation of a cashless economy in India, along with expanding financial inclusion.

Why should you use the BHIM app?

Like most UPI payments apps, BHIM offers the following services:

  • QR code generation for vendors that enables customers to simply scan and pay them
  • QR Code generation for individuals to scan and receive P2P payments
  • Fraud prevention features like timeouts following 90 seconds of no activity
  • Hindi and English language support
  • Transaction histories available as and when required

Some of the benefits of using the BHIM app include:

  • Real-time transfer of money straight into the user’s bank account
  • Strong security measures in the form of 2-factor authentication to prevent frauds
  • Consolidation of all payments (received and sent) within a single platform
  • No traditional banking restrictions such as working hours or holidays. Users can conduct payments any time they choose to do so

In a nutshell, BHIM offers rudimentary UPI services ideal for people with very basic needs. Of course, users looking for more advanced business features like sending payment links via SMS or email, analyzing consumer behavior through advanced dashboards, generating GST-compliant invoices and API-driven automation can consider Razorpay for more comprehensive payment solutions. BHIM, on the other hand, is sufficient for simple day-to-day transactions.

How to download and register yourself on the BHIM app?

The government has listed 10 easy steps that consumers can follow in order to download and register themselves on the app. These steps are as follows:

1Open Google Play or the App Store and search for the BHIM app. Click on the app in the list and then click on the download button
2Choose the language you prefer
3Choose the mobile number that is registered with your bank to set up your BHIM account
4Set a 4-digit password and use that to log into your account
5Select the “Bank Account” option and link the bank account that you wish to use
6You will be asked to set up a UPI pin. Set the same as per your choosing
7Select the “Profile” option on the app. You can set your virtual payments address here. The BHIM app allows two VPAs per user
8Select a VPA as your primary address. Skip this step if you have only one VPA
9Generate a QR Code. Individual users can use this code to let friends and family scan and pay them. Vendors can use this for customers. They can also print their QR Codes and display them in their stores to enable scan and pay options
10Proceed to send or receive payments. You can use your IFSC number, QR Code, VPA, or account number to enable the transactions

While these steps work for consumers with smartphones, there is a separate set of steps for consumers who do not have smartphones or regular internet access. The following table illustrates these steps:

1Open the dial pad and use the keys to dial *99#
2An automated voice will guide you to select the language you prefer. Once you set the language, punch in your 4 digit IFSC code, short bank code, or the first 4 digits of your bank account to register
3If you have multiple bank accounts registered on your mobile number, select the account that you wish to use
4Enter the last 6 numbers of your debit card, press the space button, and then enter your birth details in the MM/YY format, followed by your card expiry date also in the MM/YY format. Press the reply button once you are done
5Enter your desired UPI PIN number and confirm it

With these steps, your registration on the BHIM app will be complete. In order to conduct transactions in offline mode, all you need to do is dial *99# to be directed to the landing section of the offline app. You will then receive instructions in the form of an SMS. Replying to this will enable the transaction that you desire.

If you are using the non-smartphone version of BHIM, it is important to note that even though the app does not charge transaction fees, you will be liable to pay the SMS charges set by your mobile carrier.

Additionally, the BHIM App also has a detailed FAQs page to help consumers find answers to any queries.

Conclusion

The BHIM App offers an easy-to-use platform for users across India to facilitate UPI payments. Vendors and consumers alike stand to gain from certain features, like zero transaction fees and QR code generation the most.

Everything You Need to Know about NEFT

NEFT stands for National Electronic Funds Transfer and was launched in 2005. It enables easy fund transfers between two parties, as long as both parties have a NEFT-enabled bank account.

During the financial years of 2015 and 2016, customers made over 928 million transactions using NEFT. The total value of these transactions was USD 830 billion. However, since the launch of more consumer-centric payment solutions like IMPS and UPI, fewer consumers are using NEFT to facilitate their transactions. Let us explore everything there is to know about NEFT.

How to carry out a NEFT transaction

In order to initiate and successfully conduct a NEFT transaction, customers need to follow these steps:

  • Fill an application form that provides all the necessary details about the beneficiary. As a general rule, these details include the name of the beneficiary, the bank the beneficiary operates with, the IFSC code, account number, and account type
  • You must then enter the amount that you want to transfer to the beneficiary
  • Depending on the bank that you operate with, you may have to verify your identity by entering a PIN, OTP, or by following any other verification means as specified by the bank

Once these steps are followed, the bank authorizes the payment.

What happens when the bank authorizes a NEFT payment?

NEFT payments occur in hourly batches. Thus, depending on the way the bank operates, your beneficiary may receive the payment within a set number of hours. The following process takes place when the bank authorizes the NEFT payment:

  • Your bank branch will prepare a standard message regarding the details of the transaction. They will send this message to a pooling center. Pooling centers are also known as the NEFT Service Centers
  • The pooling center will then forward the same message to the NEFT Clearing Center. This center is operated and maintained by the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) through their National Clearing Cell located in Mumbai. The message ensures that the payment is included in the upcoming batch (as payments occur in hourly batches)
  • The Clearing Center then starts to sort through all the different requests for payments. These payments are initially sorted bank-wise. The center then creates accounting entries that specify the amount of money that needs to come from the originating bank. For instance, if you have initiated a payment of Rs 2 lakh, then the center will create an accounting entry stating that your bank must pay Rs 2 lakh. The remittance messages are then sent to the destination banks through their pooling centers
  • Once the destination bank receives the information, it forwards the message to the beneficiary’s account

The transfer takes place once all of these steps are completed.

What are the service charges for transactions made through NEFT?

Transactions coming inward are free. However, there are specific services charges for outward transactions that vary with the transaction amount. The following table shows the different payment slabs and their corresponding services charges:

Transaction amount Service charge levied
Up to Rs 10,000 Rs 2.50 + GST
Between Rs 10,000 and Rs 1,00,000 Rs 5 + GST
Between Rs 1,00,000 and Rs 2,00,000 Rs 15 + GST
Over Rs 2,00,000 Rs 25 + GST

Who can use NEFT to transfer funds?

Any individual, corporate or firm can use NEFT if they have a bank account. Individuals who do not have a bank account can drop their funds at any NEFT-enabled ATM near them. In such cases, individual customers are given a specific NEFT code.

Similarly, any individual, corporate or firm can receive payments that are initiated through NEFT. This payment scheme is also commonly used to transfer money between India and Nepal. It even converts the amount sent from Indian rupees into Nepalese rupees for the convenience of the consumer.

These days, though, most individual consumers and corporate companies prefer using IMPS-enabled platforms or UPI platforms to transfer funds. This is mainly because these platforms are much quicker and offer myriad business-oriented features that add value.

What are the charges for NEFT transactions?

None! As a means to promote digital transactions, RBI has scrapped transaction fees for all NEFT transactions, irrespective of your bank.

What else can you do with NEFT?

Another feature of NEFT that has been quite helpful to customers is that you can pay any credit card dues through this payment system, if required. The NEFT system has a different transaction code built into it to enable payments to the card issuing banks. You will need this code, along with the IFSC code of the bank, in order to make these payments. You can get the code from your bank branch.

NEFT payments round the clock

From December 2019 onwards, consumers will be able to make NEFT payments all through the day and night, instead of the existing 8 am to 7 pm window.

Conclusion

One of the biggest plus points of NEFT is that there are no upper limits on the transactions, allowing customers to send money as required. This can be a huge boon for customers facing any medical or financial emergency and needing large sums of money to deal with the same. NEFT fund transfers are quicker than RTGS transfers, which is another major plus.

BHIM App is Paving the Way for UPI Acceptance in Rural India

Like Bhima in the Mahabharata, the Bharat Interface for Money (BHIM) app charged headfirst into a battle as well–to be India’s foremost UPI payment app in 2016. While it succeeded in becoming the poster child for UPI in India, metrics show that its month-to-month growth has slowed down considerably since its launch. This article explores everything that there is to know about the BHIM app, along with how it contributed to generating awareness about the UPI ecosystem in India.

What is the BHIM app?

Launched by Prime Minister Narendra Modi on 30th December 2016, the BHIM app aimed to facilitate the growth of the cashless economy in India. Unlike other payment wallets, UPI payments do not require a third party wallet, namely the digital wallet that stores cash. Consumers link their bank accounts with the app and can enjoy the ease of direct payments to their vendors. BHIM users can also use QR codes, mobile numbers, and Virtual Payment Addresses (VPA) to facilitate the payment.

Currently, BHIM has collaborated with 102 banks across India and as of January 2018, it was downloaded 21.65 million times on Android and over a million times on iOS. RBI and National Payments Corporation of India (NCPI) data for December 2017 show that out of the total volume of 145 million UPI payments, BHIM accounted for 9.1 million.

What kinds of transactions can be carried out on the BHIM app?

The BHIM app offers a range of transaction options for businesses and individual consumers. The following are what both parties can expect when they use this app:

Consumers:

  • Shop online or pay for services online by selecting the “Pay by UPI” option while checking out
  • Pay for purchases by scanning QR codes set up at shops
  • Transfer money to family and friends, without incurring additional costs
  • Check transaction history and account balance, whenever required

Businesses:

  • Download specific QR codes generated for their businesses and display them digitally as well as physically in their brick and mortar stores
  • Receive consumer payments in their accounts, without incurring additional costs

To address security concerns, the NCPI has placed a set of limits for UPI apps to operate within. These include:

  • Daily transactions have a threshold limit of Rs 20,000 for a single transaction, which cannot be exceeded
  • No more than 20 transactions can be made within a period of 24 hours
  • The limit on cumulative transactions that occur within 24 hours is Rs 40,000

UPI transactions through BHIM

According to NCBI data on the volume and total value of UPI business transactions in India in 2018, only a fraction was conducted through BHIM. The table below shows a breakdown of the values by month.

MonthTotal volume (in millions)Total value (in billions)Volume via BHIM (in millions)Value via BHIM (in billions)
April 2018190.08270.2212.6049.73
May 2018189.48332.8914.1657.48
June 2018246.37406.3416.3462.61
July 2018235.65518.4316.4266.93
August 2018312.02542.1216.5068.73
September 2018405.87598.3516.3370.65
October 2018482.36749.7818.2782.06
November 2018524.94822.3217.3579.82

The drop in UPI payments in July 2018 occurred due to NCPI’s ban on payments wherein the sender and receiver of the transaction was the same person. This ruling was carried out to prevent frauds.

With these numbers, one may say that BHIM’s growth in India has not been as huge as its counterparts. However, when it comes to this app, one cannot only look at numbers to gauge its success in paving the way for UPIs in India.

BHIM and UPI payments in India

With the Jan Dhan program encouraging more and more people to open bank accounts, India is striving to not only achieve a cashless economy but also to achieve greater financial inclusion. A step towards the same has been the launch of RuPay, a more affordable debit, and credit card system when compared to international brands like Visa and MasterCard, used predominantly by India’s urban citizens.

To open a BHIM account, customers require a smartphone, a cell number that is registered to a bank account and a RuPay, Visa or Maestro card. This in itself helps ensure that citizens in tier 2 and 3 cities, along with rural areas, can opt for UPI-based transactions, if needed.

Moreover, taking the financial constraints of the average rural citizen into account, the BHIM app also functions offline, eliminating the need for a smartphone and regular internet connection altogether. To enable this functionality, users must dial *99# and then follow the instructions to link their bank account with their mobile number. All transactions are carried out by sending SMSes. While there are no transaction fees, mobile carrier-specific SMS charges do apply.

With these strong initiatives to support financial inclusion, the BHIM app is certainly paving the way for UPI payments to become the norm in India. Having said that, you may be wondering how BHIM supports vendors and businesses. BHIM does not charge any transaction fees, making it ideal for small businesses that may find even 1-2% fees to be on the higher side. BHIM can thus be a greater gateway-app, so to speak, for smaller businesses that can later transfer to apps that offer additional business-oriented features like generating GST compliant invoices, analyzing consumer behavior and integrating multiple payment modes.

Ultimately, the process to change deep-rooted, cash-centric payment norms will naturally be a slow one. However, with provisions that make these changes easier for citizens in rural and tier 2-3 cities, the BHIM app is paving the way for a wider scale of acceptance for digital payments. One cannot necessarily measure the success of the app the same way we do for other UPI apps because it is safe to say that the target audiences vary hugely. While most apps target urban, working professionals who understand digital economies and use smartphones, BHIM is gunning for people who do not. Thus, its success can only be measured over a larger timeline that hopefully shows growth and change in India’s rural mindset about digital payments.

A Comprehensive Guide to the NPCI

The National Payments Corporation of India (NCPI) functions under the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) and the Indian Banks’ Association (IBA). NPCI was founded in 2008 as a not-for-profit organization. It aims to create nationwide standards for business and retail payments across India, which is why its services are all geared towards achieving this goal.

NPCI works with ten core promoter banks across India. These include:

  • State Bank of India
  • Bank of Baroda
  • Canara Bank
  • Punjab National Bank
  • Bank of India
  • Union Bank of India
  • HDFC Bank
  • ICICI Bank
  • Citibank India
  • HSBC Bank

What are the services that NPCI provides?

Through various FinTech innovations, the NPCI has contributed to India’s current payment ecosystem in a big way. The following are some of its prominent services:

UPI

United Payments Interface )UPI) is a real-time payment solution that links bank accounts with UPI platforms on mobile phones. It eliminates the need for a third-party wallet and enables the direct transfer of money from one bank account to another. Currently, UPI services are integrated with over 120 banks. Consumers can also use UPI for P2P transfers to family and friends.

Bharat Interface for Money (BHIM)

BHIM is an app that runs on UPI. It allows users to easily make payments by using just a registered mobile number or a virtual payment address (VPA). Though BHIM is not as widely used as some of its competitors like Google Pay, it offers a vast scope for financial inclusivity for citizen across India. This is because BHIM can be operated offline and does not require a smartphone. BHIM leverages NPCI’s *99# facilities–more on that below.

*99# or USSD services

NPCI’s *99# services run on USSD, which stands for Unstructured Supplementary Service Data. These services aim to bring traditional and newer banking solutions to citizens of India who may not have smartphones, internet or even traditional bank accounts. It aims to leverage as much of mobile banking as possible and works on low-value remittances so that more citizens can become integrated and familiar with banking services.

RuPay

Now a part of the government’s Jan Dhan Yojna, RuPay is another big initiative of the NPCI that has influenced the way the average citizen makes financial decisions. RuPay is essentially a more affordable version of international debit and credit cards. These cards are issued as prepaid cards, debits cards and credit cards, as per the customer’s requirements. As of now, over 300 million RuPay cards are in circulation across India. More and more consumers are using RuPay for PoS and E-commerce transactions too.

IMPS

IMPS stands for Immediate Payment Service. This system works around the clock and offers the ability to transfer funds instantly. It is because of IMPS that current innovations like UPI are possible. Unlike NEFT and RTGS, IMPS does not rely on traditional banking hours nor does it adhere to public holidays. With payments occurring through smartphones, all consumers need is the beneficiary’s mobile number to initiate the process. Of course, other payment details such as bank account number and IFSC codes can also be used to conduct an IMPS transaction.

BBPI

BBPI stands for Bharat Bill Payment Interface. Recognizing how vital bill payments are to the retail payments industry, NPCI developed BBPI to facilitate the same. According to data released by the RBI, ₹6,223 billion is generated by India’s top 20 cities for bill payments alone. Over 70% of these bill transactions occurred through cash. BBPI is all set to function as the single platform that consolidates payments for bill payers and aggregators. So far, the NPCI has launched the pilot project for this platform. Only time will tell how widely it is accepted by vendors and consumers alike.

Is cashless India a possibility?

The NPCI is certainly taking strong steps to create a cashless India. By offering services that strive to make payments and financial transactions much easier for customers, saying that India will have a strong digital payments ecosystem used by citizens from all walks of life is not a stretch of the imagination. This is because many consumers are already using NPCI’s offerings.

The table below shows NPCI data on the retail payments on various NPCI platforms for FY 2018 (April – November).

NPCI platformVolume in millionsValue in billions
IMPS1.047.919,654.30
RuPay at PoS487.17506.26
RuPay at E-commerce248.91218.68
UPI2,586.764,242.46
BHIM127.99538.01

Conclusion

The NPCI, within its 10 years of existence, has already influenced India’s financial sector by creating payments ecosystems that strive to benefit the end consumer. With the RBI backing it up and a great list of core banks working in tandem with its policies, the NPCI will surely continue to influence various financial norms and consumer expectations in the years to come.