Bharat Interface for Money (BHIM), the payments app launched by the NPCI
Indian government last week is full of bugs, and lacks language support for most Indian languages, which means that it is inaccessible for those users in India who do not have the ability to write English or Hindi. This is probably the first bank-independent UPI application, though it’s worth noting that the application does not allow multiple bank accounts. The government should leave app development to the developers. Some issues:
1. Bugs, transactions and log-in failures: While trying to register my phone number, BHIM sends out an SMS from my phone costing 0.38 paise to verify my number. However on the first 3 tries the app returned a message saying “Verify Mobile Failed”. I was able to register my phone number only after 3 failed attempts.
Apart from this, I was not able to make any transaction via the app since the app did not allow me to register with my bank account that I hold with AXIS Bank. After 3 re-installs and several attempts later the app returned an error stating “Transaction Declined”.
We aren’t the only ones facing such log-in/transaction failures:
— PrasanthUnnikrishnan (@prasunamrita) January 1, 2017
— ગૌતમ પ્રજાપતિ 🇮🇳 (@Gautamprajapati) January 1, 2017
The reviews on the Google Play store indicate problems as well.
2. BHIM app does not have multilingual support outside of English and Hindi: BHIM cannot be an application that brings digital payments to the masses because it lacks Indian language support outside of English and Hindi. Note that the government had earlier mandated all mobile handset vendors in India to load 22 official Indian languages. The least it could do is follow the same approach for its own applications. Update: BHIM’s twitter handle says that “regional languages” are “coming soon”.
— Garga Chatterjee (@GargaC) December 31, 2016
— T.S.Suresh (@editorsuresh) December 31, 2016
3. Does not allow multiple bank accounts
Currently there are 31 banks live on BHIM via UPI. Transactions are limited to Rs 10,000 per transaction and up to Rs 20,000 per day. However, a user holding more than one bank account will not be able to register both accounts on BHIM as the app allows linkage with a single bank account per user. Several users have pointed this out as a shortcoming:
need functionality to add & switch multiple accounts on the go…
— Manoj Valekar (@manojvalekar) January 1, 2017
@NPCI_BHIM This app is Superb, but need some upgrades. Such as Multiple Account access. I can't change my account once I selected one.
— DEBJIT SARKAR (@DEBJITSARKAR5) January 1, 2017
Payments can also be done via bank IFSC and MMID codes for banks that do not support UPI. The app is available only on Android for now; and an iOS app is planned soon.
Corrigendum: An earlier version of the story denoted BHIM app as a govt initiative. This was inaccurate since the app has been developed NPCI, a private entity run by Indian Banks Association. (Hat tip: Twitter user @logic)