India’s Ambitious Plan of Digital Banking for 1.2 Billion People

India is making giant leaps in moving to the digital 21st century. It has a population of 1.2 billion and more than 223 million people have never had a bank account. So how to launch a digital payment solution for such a huge population?

The Indian Government has launched a Unified Payment Interface which makes the transfer of money as easy as mobile texting or email.

This network of payment has been created by all the retail banks in India and has backing of the India’s central bank. This is built on top of even more ambitious project: the bio-metric based national ID system called Aadhaar which is the Hindi equivalent of foundation.

More than 80 percent of Indians have been enrolled to Aadhaar which provides a unique 12 digit national identification number based on fingerprint/iris or facial features.

India plans to replicate the similar success in Kenya where a similar mobile payment system has covers half of the population of Kenya.

The success of the new Unified Payment Interface will largely depend on lower costs because in India the average monthly wage is about $300. However, if the project is successful, then all it will take in India to sent or receive a payment will be a phone number, an Aadhaar number or other virtual payment address.

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