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Digital Money For Digital India

USSD is short for Unstructured Supplementary Service Data. Its platform is built by National Unified USSD Platform. Communication between telecom operators and banks is done through global system for mobile (GSM), since it works on phones with basic calling functions. This method aims to reach rural areas and non-English speaking people, and it supports up to 11 Indian languages. You can access your bank account and transactions using your registered mobile number. You also need a Mobile Money Identifier (MMID) and an MPIN, which will be sent to you by your bank.

Fig. 5: Steps for fund transfer through USSD code
Fig. 5: Steps for fund transfer through USSD code

Steps for using this method are:

1. Dial *99# from our mobile number. You will get a greeting message asking for the first three letters of your bank’s name or its four-letter IFSC code. For example, for HDFC bank, type HFD (Fig. 4). If you are dialling for the first time, then you will get a welcome message asking you to register.
2. The second screen gives you options where you can type and send the option number and get the information of the bank. For example, if you want to know your account balance, type 1 and click on Send. You will receive the account balance.
Similarly, to transfer funds using MMID, type 3 in numeric and send. You will then have to enter the ten-digit beneficiary mobile number followed by the recipient’s MMID.
3. Enter the transaction amount, followed by space and transaction remarks. Then you will be asked to enter the four-digit MPIN and last four digits of your account number separated by space.
4. Once the transaction is authenticated, funds will be transferred to the beneficiary account.

As of now, there are limitations in options and some error message pops up from time to time. Also, transaction limit is ` 5000 per transaction.

Gift cards

A gift card is a pre-stored value money card issued by a merchant or bank. It can be used as an alternate to cash for purchasing in a store or from a retailer. It is similar to a debit/credit card, which has a specific number or code; sometimes, information is available on the magnetic strip at the back.

You can purchase a gift card directly from the merchant or bank, or can also get it online. The person you gift the card to can use it to buy something of his or her choice. The balance can be carried over to the next purchase(s).

Manu Prasad is M.Tech in VLSI and embedded systems, and is currently working as assistant professor at AWH Engineering College, Kerala. His interests include VLSI, EDA tools, MATLAB and Latex


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