While mobile wallets have capitalized on Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s demonetization drive and emerged as the big gainers, but nobody talked much about the government-backed Unified Payments Interface (UPI), which was launched in August 2016 by the National Payments Corporation of India (NPCI) with the RBI’s vision of migrating towards a ‘less-cash’ and more digital society.
Despite being a platform that could have solved the cash crunch, UPI hasn’t really got the kind of traction it probably deserves among both consumers and merchants. So, here is your guide to the UPI and how it works.
About UPI: UPI is designed with the aim to make money transfers between two bank accounts as easy as sending text messages from a smartphone. All you need to do is download one of the UPI-enabled mobile apps from the Google Play Store and follow a few simple steps to verify your mobile number (which is registered with your bank), add one of your bank accounts within the app, and create Virtual Payment Address (VPA) and PIN for that account. This entire registration process is super easy-to-follow and won’t take more than 2 minutes. It is worth noting that your bank should be UPI participant.
Note: Keep your PIN safe and never share it with others. PIN would be required for authorizing the transactions. So even if you lost your phone, nobody can transfer money via UPI app installed on your smartphone without knowing your PIN.
Virtual Payment Address (VPA) is somewhat similar to a username, which uniquely identifies a person’s bank a/c. You could use your name, mobile number, or Aadhaar Card number to create your VPA, so for example, if your name is Geetika, your VPA could be Geetika@axis subject to availability (if you are an Axis Bank customer), or Geetika@sbi (if your bank is SBI).
Once you’ve finished setting up, you’re ready to start accepting and making payments using the Unified Payments interface (UPI). Simply share your VPA with the payer to receive money into your bank account, or ask for the payee’s VPA to transfer money from your account to his/her bank account.
There are many UPI apps available on the Play Store that you can download, but our pick is PNB UPI – all because of its easy-to-use user interface with no-frills.
How PNB UPI app works step-by-step:
As soon as you install the PNB UPI app, you’ll see a button “Click me”, and when you tap this button, it will send a message from your phone to verify your phone number. Note: For an app to work, your phone should carry a number which is registered with one of your bank accounts. In case you have a dual-SIM phone, please keep the registered SIM in the 1st slot.
After verifying your mobile number, the app will redirect you to the registration screen where you’ll be asked to enter personal details like name, date of birth, gender, etc., followed by creating a 6-digit numeric password for logging in to the application.
Upon completing the registration process, the home screen greets you with options like Add bank account, Add virtual address, Set PIN, Pay, Collect, View Balance, Scan & Pay and more.
To start using the PNB UPI app in order to send or receive money, you first need to add your bank account (the bank should be UPI participant) followed by creating virtual payment address (VPA) and PIN for it.
Note: You don’t need to be a PNB customer to use this app. This app can be used by anyone whose bank is on the UPI platform. At the moment, there are 30+ banks offering UPI services.
Now when you have added your bank account within the app, and linked it to the virtual payment address and PIN, you are all set to send and receive money by using options like Pay, Collect, and Scan & Pay given in the PNB UPI app.
Note: Most of the UPI apps work in the same manner and available only on Android OS. You can also try UPI-enabled BHIM app recently launched by our Prime Minister Narendra Modi. Read about how the BHIM app works, check out the list of the banks that are UPI participants, and what are the minimum requirements for using any one of the UPI apps on Page 24.