UIDAI will soon open up Aadhar payments for person to person transactions in the next couple of months according to Nandan Nilekani, Chairman of the UIDAI project. He made the announcement during QnA session that followed the opening keynote of TiEcon Delhi last week.
“If I take a cab, I can pay him by sending the payment to the bank account that is associated with the Aadhar number once we expand the authentication capabilities. Aadhar payments were initially just used for government programmes and then we opened it for oil companies and enterprises. Now we have 50-60 Authorised User Agencies (AUA) on board. We want to create a window for innovative companies and we want an AUA to offer such a service,” he said.
Currently there are 440m Aadhar cards and 30m bank accounts associated with Aadhar cards. Also 10m transactions have been made to bank accounts using the service according to him. Nilekani also said that these P2P payments may also encourage Indians to use this service to make payments online instead of giving out debit card details as the bank details itself are available only after the authentication is made by a user using one time passwords. He hopes that this system can lay the foundation for cashless payments in the future.
The list of AUAs currently consist of banks, government agencies, mobile phone operators and a couple of private companies that deal in the financial sector. If the agency wants to enable P2P transactions it needs to rope in more companies that are interested. That said, we hope there is a strict eye kept on the misuse of API as a company can request too much information from a user. The best way to deal with this would be by stating which all information from the Aadhar database is being access by an app or service at a given time much like Android apps have to state the services and data they want to use ahead of installation on to a mobile phone. Meanwhile RBI is also working on the feasibility of using encrypted SMSes for such P2P transactions that will use Aadhar number for authentication.
When asked about the recent court order which said that Aadhar should not be mandatory for government schemes, he said that the company has filed its affidavits on the same already.