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BHIM UPI cashbacks crossed Rs 100 crore; a third went to SBI: RTI

The government has already spent over Rs 100 crore on referral and transaction cashbacks to BHIM users, it revealed in an RTI reply to MediaNama. The State Bank of India’s account-holders got the highest share, netting 33.45% of the cashbacks at Rs 35.2 crore. (SBI’s number was so high that it was displayed as an exponent (3.52E+08) in the RTI response.) SBI customers got almost four times as much cashbacks as the next most successful bank, Paytm Payments Bank. The cashback scheme was mostly revoked for individual transactions in July, with only referral cashbacks remaining. As such, the month-on-month growth of the cashback number is likely to be small. The government is now reportedly working on a new merchant-oriented scheme.

In total, Rs 105.2 crore has been disbursed in cashback to users. This includes both merchant and individual cashbacks.

SBI nets Rs 35 crore

The top five banks are:

  • SBI: Rs 35.2 crores
  • Paytm Payments Bank: Rs 9.1 crores
  • ICICI Bank: Rs 7.6 crores
  • HDFC Bank: Rs 7.3 crores
  • PNB: Rs 6.3 crores

While an anonymous government official was previously quoted as saying that the 100 crore rupee mark was crossed, this data confirms it, along with a bank-wise break up (see bottom of article).

Click here to see the entire breakdown as of September 2018

There are also around 11 co-operative banks which have been allotted less than Rs 2000 all in all in terms of BHIM cashbacks.

“BHIM cashbacks discriminatory”

In July, Mobikwik CEO Bipin Preet Singh had said that the government’s BHIM cashback scheme — which goes through apps that come with the BHIM branding — was discriminatory because it propped up one form of digital payments over others.

“It’s incredible that both private and public sector bank apps get the benefit of Govt promotions but startup apps (which follow same level of compliance) & which are attracting much valuable FDI, creating new technology & thousands of new jobs are denied this opportunity,” Singh wrote then.

“You will make Rs 750 per month if you’re an ICICI Bank user and use the ICICI Bank app (or the special BHIM App) to make UPI payments, but in case you found the UX of MobiKwik (or PhonePe or Google Tez or WhatsApp) better, you won’t get any cashback even though you end up using UPI and the same bank account.”

The scheme was originally scheduled to end in March 2018, but will run until 2019.

No bank-wise allotment

The government said in its RTI response that funds for the BHIM cashback were allotted as soon as they were earmarked, meaning that it’s probably that MeitY would pay out as much cashback as long as people were getting referred. The response does not mention specifics like the date on which these cashbacks began to be allotted. These are the questions MediaNama asked in its RTI application to MeitY, along with their replies:

i) List of bank UPI apps that are authorised to receive funds for BHIM referral scheme cashback, along with date on which they first started receiving funds for disbursing referral cashback.

Answer: List of banks given in the attachment

ii) As of date of receipt of this RTI Application, amount of cashback funds disbursed by each app under BHIM referral scheme.
iii) As of date of receipt of this RTI Application, amount of money earmarked for cashback scheme but not yet disbursed across all apps.

Answer: Amount of cashback funds disbursed by each app under BHIM referral scheme and amount of money earmarked for cashback scheme- are same and total earmarked amount is disbursed.

iv) Please provide per-app breakdown for all above requested data.

Answer: Per-app breakdown for all the UPI apps of the banks given in the table attached.

Note: While the RTI and the response mention ‘apps’, the figures are for the issuers. Per-app breakdown was not given by the government.

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