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Wondering what the BHIM App is and why you should care? Here's what you need to know!

BHIM App

The BHIM (Bharat Interface for Money) app was launched by PM Narendra Modi on 30th December 2016. Its main aim was to facilitate easy cashless payments post demonetisation and create a push towards a ‘digital economy’. Since then, the app has been actively accepted by 102 partnering banks and been downloaded over 36 million times. 
Wondering what the fuss is about and why you should care? Here’s everything you need to know about the BHIM app. 

What is BHIM?

Named after the architect of the Indian constitution Dr BR Ambedkar, the BHIM app is an aggregator of Unified Payments Interface (UPI) services across various banks. Developed by the not-for-profit National Payments Corporation of India (NPCI), BHIM has been at the forefront of creating a digital infrastructure for financial transactions in India.

What does BHIM do?

This UPI app enables a range of cashless transactions – through your bank account, mobile number, QR code, or by creating a unique digital identity, also called a virtual payment address (VPA). Using your bank-registered mobile number and a bank ID (similar to an email ID, which you can choose subject to availability), you can register your unique VPA to make or receive payments.

Related: 6 Practical ways to stay updated on money matters

What is needed to operate BHIM?

As a first-time user, you will need a smartphone, your mobile number registered to your bank account, a Visa, Maestro, or RuPay debit card, and the BHIM app (available for Android phones and iPhones) to generate your VPA. 
Once registered, you can use this ID to make or receive payments through IMPS (Immediate Payments Service) between any two bank accounts, via your smartphone. These transactions are conducted 24x7 either online via the internet, or offline via Unstructured Supplementary Service Data (USSD) – the same GSM technology used to transmit text messages.

How to install the BHIM app?

Setting up and using this UPI app is extremely easy. Just follow the steps below:
•    Download the BHIM app from the App/Play Store and open it
•    Select your desired language and verify your mobile number via an SMS sent by NPCI
•    Once your number is verified, select your choice of bank
•    You will receive an alert to set up your UPI PIN (MPIN)
•    Enter the last six digits and expiry month/year of the debit card for the bank account selected by you
•    Set up a desired 6-digit MPIN
•    Use the ‘Profile’ option to allocate a virtual payment address (VPA). The system allows two VPAs to be generated
•    Pick an easy-to-remember VPA, e.g.: name@upi or mobileno@upi, which makes it convenient to share with others
•    It also generates a custom QR code for you to share and download for receiving payments

Your profile page will look like this:

Kinds of transactions

The BHIM app can be used for different kinds of transactions by individuals and businesses alike.

1. Consumers can:

  • Send money to friends and family at no cost
  • Scan and pay for purchases, using QR code at shops
  • Shop or pay online by clicking on ‘Pay by UPI’
  • Check account balance and transaction history

2. Merchants can:

  • Receive payments directly and seamlessly into their bank accounts, at no cost
  • Download the QR code and send it (via digital medium) or display it (at the storefront) to enable payments by customers

Transaction limits

With ease of use and accessibility come security concerns. Keeping this mind, NCPI has mandated the following for the BHIM app:

  • A maximum of 20 transactions can be initiated in a 24-hour period. 
  • The daily threshold limit for a single transaction cannot exceed Rs 20,000
  • The cumulative value of transactions in a 24-hour period is limited to Rs 40,000

Charges involved

No transaction charges are levied by NPCI for using BHIM! For transacting via smartphone you will need an internet connection. Customers using the offline mode will have to bear standard SMS charges (this depends on the telecom operator) for every transaction.
This makes BHIM an attractive option for small merchants, whose bottom lines are adversely affected by the 1-2% transaction fees levied by other payment modes.

How to transfer money using BHIM?

Broadly, there are four methods to transact via BHIM – the VPA, the registered mobile number, via bank account number and IFSC, and lastly the ‘scan and pay’ option.
For all of these, you have to first log in to the app via the passcode. For initiating a payment through VPA or mobile number, select the ‘Send Money’ option, enter and verify the payees VPA or mobile number respectively. 
The app then fetches the payee details if the VPA or mobile number is registered on BHIM. Verify the details, add the amount and comments if any, and click ‘Pay’. Authenticate with your MPIN to confirm the payment.
To pay through bank account number and IFSC, select the option from the top right-hand corner (three dots). Enter and verify the payee’s bank details and IFSC code. The rest of the process is similar.
To scan and pay a merchant or person who has a QR code displayed physically on their counter or on their phone, just click the ‘Scan and Pay’ option, scan the code, fill in the amount, and enter your MPIN to confirm the transfer. That’s it.
On confirmation of a successful transfer, the app will send a notification to the customer.

How to receive money using BHIM?

There are three methods to request a payment via BHIM – VPA, registered mobile number, and using a dynamic QR code. 
For all these three options, you have to log into the app via the passcode. For requesting a payment through VPA or mobile number, select the ‘Receive Money’ option, and enter and verify the payer’s VPA or mobile number. 
The app then fetches the payer’s details if the VPA or mobile number is registered on BHIM. Verify the details, add the amount and comments if any, and initiate a request. Once the payer accepts the request, the initiator is notified of the same.
To accept a payment through a dynamic user generated QR code, select the ‘Generate QR Code’ from the drop-down menu of the home page. Share the QR code to accept payment.
 

How to use BHIM without a smartphone?

For BHIM to truly work as an app that digitises India, it has to be able to cater to small towns and rural stretches as well. The offline mode is designed for this purpose; it is not dependant on the availability of smartphones or internet connectivity.
A simple handheld device can deliver the same benefits. To install BHIM via offline mode:

  • Open your call option, dial *99#
  • Select the language, enter the first four digits of your desired bank name/bank short code or IFSC code, and press ‘Reply’
     
  • Select the desired account (applicable if more than one account is held in the same bank against your mobile number)
  • Enter [last 6 digits of debit card] SPACE [MM/YY expiry date], and press ‘Reply’
  • Enter and confirm desired UPI PIN/MPIN
  • Once you have registered, any time you dial *99# and press ‘call’, you will be taken to the BHIM landing page for non-smartphones
  • All transactions listed can be carried out by sending and replying to the instruction SMS

 

Resetting the app PIN

Resetting or changing your UPI pin on the BHIM app is a quick and easy process. Just open the app, click on ‘reset UPI pin’, and enter the last six digits of your debit/credit card, along with its expiry date. It then requests an OTP from the bank and automatically detects it. You have to enter the new PIN, reconfirm it, and you are good to go.
 

Related: Go the plastic way! [infographic]

Features of BHIM

  • Enables QR code-based scan-and-pay option
  • Provides transaction history so you can be on top of your finances
  • You can generate your own QR code and UPI PIN
  • As a security measure, the login expires after 90 seconds of inactivity to minimise fraudulent use of your account
  • As long as your mobile number is the same, BHIM does not get affected by handset changes or number porting to a different operator
  • Supports reporting of customer complaints to the bank
  • Has a robust FAQ section to answer all queries about the BHIM app
  • It supports both Hindi and English to boost financial inclusion

Benefits of BHIM

  • It helps you go cashless and helps build a digital India
  • You can consolidate all your payments and receivables in a single app
  • It helps your receive and transfer money directly into bank accounts in real-time.
  • You can create your VPA with just your mobile number or name; no longer do you have to share account details
  • Its two-factor authentication ensures your transactions are safe and secure
  •  t is independent of bank working hours, so you can make transactions 24x7 all around the year
  • Now that you have learned everything there is to know about the BHIM app, are you ready to go digital? It’s time to be BHIM’ed up!
     

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