Soon, rail passengers will be able to purchase both reserved and unreserved tickets at counters using Bharat Interface for Money (BHIM) mobile application based on the Unified Payments Interface (UPI).
Aiming to encourage cashless payments, railways has extended the facility of paying ticket fares through BHIM mobile app, developed by National Payments Corporation of India (NPCI), an umbrella organisation for retail payment system. At present, passengers are allowed to pay the ticket fare through credit and debit cards for purchasing reserved and unreserved tickets at counters.
The UPI system will power the multiple bank accounts into a single mobile application and provide several banking features, including money transfer.
On the procedure involved in making payments through BHIM app, railway sources said passengers who have signed up for UPI payments with their banks will get a 20-digit alpha numeric Virtual Payment Address (VPA).
“While purchasing train tickets at counters, you need to provide your VPA address to the ticket clerk. As soon as the clerk keys your VPA in the reservation portal, you will get an alert to your registered mobile phone for approval. After you approve the payment, the money will get deducted from your bank account. The booking clerk also will receive an alert in his system. The entire payment process will be over in seconds,” the official explained. You need not mention the bank account at any point of time, the sources said.
The pilot project will be introduced for three months and passengers who hold accounts in ICICI and SBI bank will be able to use the provision. Later, railways plans to include more private and nationalised banks that support UPI payment method.
The Centre for Railway Information Systems (CRIS), an IT wing of railways, had already made changes in IRCTC portal, to accept payment through UPI/BHIM application for online tickets. “The zonal railways had been directed to introduce the payment option at reserved and unreserved ticket counters at the earliest,” the sources added.