A cashless economy is one in which all the transactions are done using cards or digital means. The circulation of physical currency is minimal. A Cashless Society describes an economic state whereby financial transactions are not conducted with money in the form of physical banknotes or coins, but rather through the transfer of digital information (usually an electronic representation of money) between the transacting parties.
Digital Payment Methods
The Digital India programme is a flagship programme of the Government of India with a vision to transform India into a digitally empowered society and knowledge economy. “Paperless, Faceless, Cashless” is one of professed role of Digital India. As part of promoting cashless transactions and converting India into less-cash society, various modes of digital payments are available.
Cards are provided by banks to their account holders. These have been the most used digital payment modes till now. Many of us use cards for transferring funds and making digital payments. Credit cards, debit cards and prepaid cards are the main types of cards. You can also use Rupay debit card for digital payments. Credit cards are issued by banks and some other entities authorized by RBI. These cards give you the ability to withdraw or use extra money. Credit cards are used for domestic as well as international payments. Debit cards are issued by the bank where you have your account. You can use these cards for the money in your account. The payments you make with these cards debited from your account and credit immediately to the payee’s account. You can use these cards to make payments to one bank account to another.
USSD banking or *99# Banking is a mobile banking based digital payment mode. You do not need to have a smartphone or internet connection to use USSD banking. You can easily use it with any normal feature phone. USSD banking is as easy as checking your mobile balance. You can use this service for many financial and non-financial operations such as checking balance, sending money, changing MPIN and getting MMID. The *99# code works as a bridge between your telecom operator’s server and your bank’s server. It uses your registered mobile number to connect with your bank account. Hence, dial *99# with your registered number only. USSD banking has a transaction limit of Rs. 5000 per day per customer. RBI has also set a maximum charge of Rs. 2.5 per operation.
AEPS is an Aadhaar based digital payment mode. The term AEPS stands for Aadhaar Enabled Payment Service. Customer needs only his or her Aadhaar number to pay to any merchant. AEPS allows bank to bank transactions. It means the money you pay will be deducted from your account and credited to the payee’s account directly. You need to link your Aadhaar number to your bank account to use AEPS. Unlike Debit cards and USSD, AEPS does not have any charges on transactions. You can use AEPS with the help of PoS (Point of sale) machines. You can withdraw or deposit cash, send money to another Aadhar linked account with it. The good thing about AEPS is that it doesn’t need your signature, bank account details or any password. It uses your fingerprint as a password. No one can forge your fingerprints, thus it is the most secure digital payment mode.
UPI or unified payment interface is a payment mode which is used to make fund transfers through the mobile app. You can transfer funds between two accounts using UPI apps. You will have to register for mobile banking to use UPI apps. Currently, this service is only available for android phone users. Hence you can use UPI only when you have an android phone.
You need to download a UPI app and create a VPA or UPI ID. There are too many good UPI apps available such as BHIM, SBI UPI app, HDFC UPI app, iMobile, PhonePe app etc. It is not mandatory to use the UPI app from your bank to enjoy UPI service. You can download and use any UPI app. UPI apps are a faster solution to send money using VPA or even IFSC and account number. But they have some limitations also. If you do not have an android phone you cannot use UPI app, It is not for you. Lack of stable internet connection can also cause trouble for these apps.