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You must have at least heard about Unified Payment Interface (UPI), if you haven’t, download one of the UPI-based apps. UPI has made money transfers simpler than ever before. Using UPI, you can link multiple bank accounts and send money to them using a single unique ID.

Here’s more information on UPI. UPI is a payments platform launched by the National Payments Corporation of India (NPCI) and enables bank account holders to transfer money and make payments using their smartphone without logging into their bank account or giving their account information every time.

How does it work?

If you want to use a particular bank account to transfer money, you have to use only that bank’s website or app. However, UPI allows you to use multiple bank accounts to send and receive money. How? Using UPI, you will create a Virtual Payment Address (VPA). This will be similar to your email id. Some UPI-based apps allow you to create alpha id while others require you to create an alpha-numeric id. For example, your VPA could be yourname@bankname. You can link your bank accounts to this id to send or receive money.

For setting up the VPA, you will have to provide your bank account details once. After it is linked to your VPA, you don’t have to share your bank account details such as IFSC code and bank account number for sending or receiving money. Just provide the sender or receiver with your VPA. So, you can ensure that all your bank account information remains safe.

NPCI will authenticate the VPA from its end and identify the bank account while the bank will verify the transaction at its end. This will be very similar to you to withdrawing money from different bank ATMs. Even though you use a different bank’s ATM, your account details are verified and your account gets debited. Similarly, when you use the VPA, your bank will verify and complete the transactions.

Here are the steps to creating a VPA using the Bharat Interface for Money (BHIM) app. Before creating a VPA, you will have to register on BHIM. Here are the steps.

  • You will need to verify your mobile number. The BHIM app will send an SMS using your phone to verify your number.
  • Once your mobile is verified, you can set the passcode for logging into the app and confirm it.
  • Then, select your primary bank and the account in that bank.
  • Once you have selected the bank and account number, You will set the UPI PIN. This will be a 6 digit number. You will need your debit card details for this.

Now, you will be ready to create your VPA. Once your VPA is created, you can go to your profile and choose your primary VPA.

How secure is UPI?

UPI makes use of two-factor authentication. You will be using your credentials and something like your ATM PIN called UPI PIN to authenticate transactions. The UPI PIN has to be set at the time you register on UPI. You will have to use this PIN for every transaction.

How quick is this?

UPI is based on the Immediate Payment Services (IMPS) infrastructure. This means that payments are usually almost instant and you can send or receive money even on holidays.
Read more: Funds transfer: What are NEFT, RTGS, and IMPS?

How much can you transfer?

There are limits to the amount that you can transfer or receive using UPI. At present, every transaction is limited to a maximum of Rs. 1,00,000. The per-day transaction limit is also Rs. 1,00,000.

What are the charges?

As of now, there are no charges for UPI transactions.

What happens if my transaction fails?

Usually, in case you entered the wrong UPI PIN, used a wrong beneficiary VPA, if the system is down or if the beneficiary is no longer using the VPA, your UPI transaction could fail. In this case, your money will be refunded to your bank account within 2 days. For successful transactions, the transaction will be displayed on the UPI app.

Many banks offer UPI apps and you can use any one of them to create your VPA even if you are not the customer of the bank. It is said that when all bank accounts are linked to Aadhaar, then UPI will use your biometrics to verify transactions. This way, your transactions will get more secure.

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