The government is going all out to expand the use of two mobile-payment solutions — BharatQR and BHIM (Bharat Interface for Money) — by retail merchants to achieve its target of 25 billion digital transactions by March 2018, a media report claimed.
Working on a strategy to promote cashless transactions, the government is said to be looking at ways to make digital payments cheaper than cash, and also digitise recurring payments, such as utility bill payments and recharges.
“We plan to create BHIM as the best-in-class payment application and also promote BharatQR for all forms of payments at merchant locations,” said Ajay Kumar, additional secretary, ministry of electronics and information technology. The government also intends to make BharatQR available even to merchants without current accounts, Kumar said, adding that even savings bank accounts should be good enough to start BharatQR-based payments.
According to the official, once banks are technologically equipped, they will roll out BharatQR-based payments on a large scale. All major banks are working on it and should be rolled out very soon, he said, pointing out that even government ministries have been advised to promote digital payments by acquiring merchants themselves.
“The petroleum ministry will try to have petrol bunks on BharatQR, and the ministry of food and public distribution can install BharatQR for payments at Public Distribution System shops. It is going to be a collaborative effort,” Kumar said, adding that the government is maintaining a central dashboard to track digital payments across departments. It has also proposed making the dashboard public to reveal the numbers along the lines of the central bank, which releases its numbers on digital payments every month.
Lauding banks for their work in doubling the number of point-of-sale (PoS) terminals within three months, Kumar said the banks are also working to install 20 lakh Aadhaar Pay-enabled PoS terminals to promote digital payments at small merchant outlets.