BHIM app to make India the first cashless society

bhimHere in the UK when we speak of India we may look upon them as a country which is not as highly developed as the UK. That could be a mistake however, in a country renowned for their technical know-how (tons of computer programming is outsourced to India), they could also become the first truly cashless society.

Driven by fraud, corruption and terrorism, India ditched their high value bank notes. IN a move announced in November, by the end of 2016 if you hadn’t deposited your bank notes in a bank they’re now worthless. At a stroke this forced anyone sitting on large quantities of cash to bank and declare it or lose it and be left with bundles of worthless paper.

Then the Indian government announced a new BHIM (Bharat Interface for Money) mobile app developed by the National Payments Corporation of India and compatible with all online banking in India. The aim is to drive towards a cashless society as anyone with an Android or iOS mobile phone can make payments with BHIM.

In the first ten days there have been 10 million downloads of BHIM. Once downloaded, you link the app to your bank account, set a PIN and register your mobile number as your payment address.

India’s Prime Minister Narendra Modi explains that the aim is to replace all cash transactions with BHIM saying that it will revolutionise India and force the entire world to take note. Indeed, with 1.3 billion, one fifth of the world’s population living in India BHIM has the potential to dwarf PayPal who have some 192 million active users. BHIM could become the default defacto payment method for ecommerce in India shutting the door to PayPal and comptetitors.

In comparison to India it seems somewhat strange that the UK is worrying about the number of fake £1 coins in circulation and our reaction to the problem is to introduce a new twelve sided £1 coin and our new fivers are state of the art. Compared to India and BHIM this suddenly sounds such a backward third world solution. When will we in the UK start making meaningful steps towards becoming a cashless society?