India Launches Biometric Payment App

India Launches Biometric Payment App
India launched a new mobile app that allows users to make payment from their bank accounts using a finger print.

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(CCM) — India's prime minister, Narendra Modi, has launched a new biometric payment app; called BHIM. The app is named after Dr. Bhim Rao Ambedkar but its letters stand for "Bharat Interface for Money." Unlike e-wallet apps, the new app will be directly linked to user bank accounts and, therefore, will not require a credit or debit card to make electronic payments. Instead, the system will work using users' Aadhar numbers — a unique identification number issued by the government to every citizen — and their fingerprints. "[Before, using a] fingerprint [was] for illiterate people and is looked down upon. But, in a role reversal, fingerprints will now be your bank, identity, and business," Modi said at the app's launch.

More improvements will be made in the future and eventually, users are expected to be able to make digital payments without needing an internet connection, which is a concern for the over 60% of Indian citizens who do not have access to the web. The BHIM interface can also be accessed using the USSD code "*99#," which helpful for those who don't use smartphones. The government also announced various cash reward plans for digital purchases aimed at promoting cashless transactions. The Android app for BHIM is live in the Google Play Store; an iOS version will be launched very soon.

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