Banks and the National Payments Corporation of India have asked the finance ministry to increase the referral bonus on payments app BHIM (Bharat Interface for Money) since it has failed to attract consumers. The government is considering the request and may announce revised incentives soon.

Any person who refers BHIM to another gets Rs 10 as an incentive and the person who starts using it gets Rs 25 as an initiating cashback. “BHIM referral bonus is Rs 10, which we feel is too low to be attractive for consumers. We have suggested the government increase it to Rs 25,” said AP Hota, MD, NPCI. “The government is positively considering it and is expected to launch it soon.”

The BHIM app enables payment transactions using the Unified Payments Interface (UPI). Users can make instant bank-to-bank payments and pay and collect money using their mobile phone numbers or virtual payment addresses.

BHIM, introduced after demonetisation in November to encourage digital transactions, has the backing of PM Narendra Modi. So far, a chunk of UPI transactions comes from BHIM and PhonePe, the payments arm of Flipkart.

BAN “Forty-five percent of the transactions are happening through BHIM and 40% is being driven by PhonePe,” said Hota. “Thirty-six banks together now account for only 15% share of UPI transactions, which is very low.”

UPI clocked 10.2 million transactions in June, a fivefold increase since December. It had a share of a little over 1% in total number of electronic payment system transactions. “We are short of our target of 40 million transactions for the first quarter via UPI,” he said. “In the first three months of this financial year, UPI has only clocked 26 million transactions.”

Bankers said they have apprehensions over the ability to reach the target of 25 billion transactions