AEPS (Aadhaar Enabled Payment System) is a digital payment system that allows customers in India to access various financial services using their Aadhaar number and biometric authentication. The system was launched by the National Payments Corporation of India (NPCI) in 2016 to promote financial inclusion and improve access to banking services for individuals who do not have access to traditional banking channels.
Aadhaar is a 12-digit unique identification number issued by the Indian government to its residents. It contains biometric and demographic data of the individual, including their name, address, date of birth, gender, and fingerprints. Aadhaar is linked to the individual’s bank account, making it easier to authenticate and access financial services.
The AEPS system is built on the foundation of the Aadhaar infrastructure, which includes a vast network of Aadhaar-enabled micro-ATMs that are equipped with biometric authentication devices. These micro-ATMs are operated by Business Correspondents (BCs), who are authorized by banks to provide banking services in remote and underbanked areas. The AEPS system allows customers to perform financial transactions such as cash withdrawals, cash deposits, balance inquiries, and fund transfers using their Aadhaar number and biometric authentication.
To use the AEPS system, customers need to visit an Aadhaar-enabled micro-ATM and provide their Aadhaar number and biometric authentication. Biometric authentication can be done through fingerprint or iris scan. Once the authentication is successful, customers can access the financial services available through the AEPS system.
One of the significant benefits of the AEPS system is that it eliminates the need for physical debit cards, PINs, or signatures, making it more convenient and secure for customers. This is especially important for individuals who do not have access to traditional banking services or who live in remote areas. The system also enables faster and more reliable transactions, which can help to reduce the cost and time involved in traditional banking transactions.
The AEPS system is also interoperable, which means that customers can access financial services from any bank that is a member of the NPCI network. This promotes competition among banks and improves access to financial services for customers.
Another advantage of the AEPS system is that it is affordable for customers. The fees charged for transactions are nominal, making it accessible to low-income individuals who may not have the means to pay high transaction fees.
Despite the many benefits of the AEPS system, there are also some concerns about its security and privacy. The use of biometric authentication has raised concerns about the privacy of personal information and the risk of identity theft. However, the NPCI has taken several measures to ensure the security of the system, including the use of encryption and other security protocols.
To conclude AEPS is a digital payment system that has revolutionized the way people access financial services in India. The system has helped to promote financial inclusion and improve access to banking services for individuals who were previously excluded from traditional banking channels. While there are concerns about security and privacy, the benefits of the AEPS system far outweigh the risks. The system has the potential to transform the financial landscape in India and promote economic growth and development.