You may soon be able to pay with your Aadhaar card


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MUMBAI: Imagine buying goods at a merchant outlet and paying by just punching in the Aadhaar number, amount to be paid and fingerprint as your security clearance -- no card, no smartphone, no Point of Sales terminals required. Though it may sound more like a tech mumbo-jumbo, the use of Aadhaar-enabled payment system and the opening up of the Aadhaar database is on the verge of making it a reality.

While private sector lender IDFC Bank has introduced biometric readers at merchant outlets for payments through the Aadhaar, railroads, bankers and the government are looking at ways to make this the main way to pay . "In case of card transactions, the cost of the terminal and the technology of service providers always bring in the concept of extra charges per transaction.

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Government will soon launch a mobile application to facilitate Aadhaar-linked digital payments and roll out a nation-wide programme to train over 1 crore people on e-payments.

However, if the transaction is done through the Aadhaar network, there's no need for extra charges," said bankers aware of the discussions with the government.

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"The extra charge was a major impediment for consumers to pay digitally, and instead they opted for cash," they said.

During meetings with financial technology committee of bankers and government representatives, an attempt was made to find a viable option, and they discussed at length around how to make digital payments free of cost and route them through the Aadhaar database.

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The new app would do away with plastic cards and the point of sale machines once believed to be essential for a less cash society.

"The solution that we have come up with will directly benefit the bottom rung of people who do not need mobile phones, plastic cards for digital payments -- they just need to be enrolled with Aadhaar," said a senior IDFC Bank official. "There are 109 crore people enrolled with Aadhaar, hence this mode could be the most preferred mode of payment.

" IDFC Bank has rolled out biometric readers at their business correspondents' outlets to allow them to accept payments through fingerprint scanning from any bank customer.Even SBI has introduced Aadhaarbased payments solution recently .