India lays out plan to ditch cash for mobile payments

India lays out plan to ditch cash for mobile payments

India has set out its plans for a unified electronic payments system and set of APIs designed to wean the country off of cash and onto electronic transactions tapping smartphone and biometric technology.

Set up at the behest of the RBI in 2008, the National Payments Corporation of India (NPCI) has been given the task of consolidating and integrating the country's various retail payments systems.

The group has now published its unified payment interface API and technology specifications, which it says can be used by banks, merchants and other institutional players to send and receive payments.

At the heart of the plans is the rapid adoption of smartphones in India and the government's Unique Identification Authority of India (UIDAI) programme, a biometrics-based ID system that is working towards ensuring citizens all have a Aadhaar number.

The new interface aims to enable anyone with an account to send and receive money from their mobile phones with a single identifier - Aadhaar number, mobile number, virtual payments address - without needing bank account account information.

The NPCI says that the interface should provide one click, two factor authentication, provide an ecosystem and set of APIs that lets banks and others innovate, and support the growth of e-commerce and financial inclusion. According to the Economic Times, a pilot could be run by the middle of the year.

Comments: (3)

A Finextra member
A Finextra member 10 February, 2015, 05:181 like 1 like

This project and its admirable vision, will start as a 'less-cash' objective alongside universal access to banking for all of its millions of citizens. This is just the beginning. India, like the rest of the world, will end up as a cashless society given sufficient time for the nation to absorb these admirable objectives, as laid out by the Royal Bank of India (RBI) for a unified electronic payments system.

Hitesh Thakkar
Hitesh Thakkar - SME - Fintech startups (APAC and Africa) - India 13 February, 2015, 14:18Be the first to give this comment the thumbs up 0 likes

Very abmbitious plan by RBI and NPCI to leverage more than 500 million biometrics records of citizens acriss India with accessability to banking in some form but Biometric authentication on Mobile handset is always topic of discussion on feasibility.

@John - Thanks for your comments on Indian payments scenario. Small correction RBI stands for Reserve Bank of India.

A Finextra member
A Finextra member 13 February, 2015, 14:27Be the first to give this comment the thumbs up 0 likes

Woops! I should be more careful about these things. Thank you for putting me straight Hitesh.