After countries like Bhutan, Nepal etc now France, the 6th richest country in the world is all set to accept payments using the Unified Payments Interface (UPI) and RuPay Cards.
The Raise and raise of UPI in India
Slashing its own record, the flagship digital payment platform of India UPI has processed over Rs 10 trillion in May 2022. It’s the highest since it launched in 2016. With a simple interface and widespread adoption of the internet UPI has emerged as the leader in the digital payment service. The UPI transactions are now equal to the credit and debit card transactions combined. That shows how much UPI popularity has increased in just 5 years. The flagship schemes from Narendra Modi like “Jan dhan Yojna” also helped UPI to increase its footprint. As of now nearly half of the transaction in India is done through UPI.
With UPI, Indians will no longer need to carry a credit or debit card or currency notes to make transactions. Just like their debit or credit cards, you can just do transactions with your mobile just by scanning QR code or through UPI id.
This ease of doing transactions made both consumers and businesses like local shops and malls popular in the first place. But the main SOP was “ZERO” commission on transactions. India is particularly a price sensitive country and with zero commission UPI attracted the merchants to come to its platform in large numbers in a very small amount of time. Currently, 250 banks are live UPI members, which means they allow interbank fund transfers using UPI. There are over 50 UPI apps with Phone Pe leading the space.
UPI is the single largest retail payment system in the country in terms of volume of transactions (14 crore transactions per day, October 2021). Transaction data analysis shows that 50 percent of transactions through UPI were below Rs 200 which was one of the initial objectives of UPI was to replace cash for low-value transactions. With 25.5 billion real-time payment transactions in 2020 – the highest in the world and 60% higher than China India has outplaced the world in digital payments.
The Globalization of UPI
After revolutionizing the domestic digital payment market UPI now eyes world dominance. For international operations National Payments Corporation of India has launched a dedicated international subsidiary called the NPCI International to look after all the foreign operations, adoptions and expansions in various countries.
Countries currently supporting this payment system
Nepal has become the first country to adopt UPI payment system in their country. NIPL has recently collaborated with Nepal’s leading payment system operator Gateway Payments Service and Manam Infotech to deploy UPI as one of the payment methods in the country. This will drive digitization of cash transactions and offer the convenience of digital payments to the citizens of Nepal. It will also enable real-time, cross-border person-to-person transactions between Nepal and India.
The Singapore government has joined the league of countries interested in adopting UPI as one of the payment methods in their country. In November 2020, the National Payments Corporation of India (NPCI) and Network for Electronic Transfers (NETS) of Singapore, jointly developed the project enabling Indians to make payments in Singapore via the BHIM-UPI app.
A memorandum of understanding (MoU) was signed between the two parties to ensure the commencement of the initiative and allow people to make person-to-person (P2P) and person-to-merchant (P2M) transactions in Singapore.
Looking at the success of the project, the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) and the Monetary Authority of Singapore are now joining hands to link their immediate payment networks, UPI and PayNow. This will not only enable individuals and businesses to make instant, low-cost fund transfers between the two countries but also boost their respective financial sectors.
In August 2021, Merchantrade Asia, a money transfer, digital payments, and mobile communications provider, teamed up with NPCI International Payments Ltd (NIPL), a wholly-owned subsidiary of the National Payments Corporation of India (NPCI), to provide real-time remittances to India.
Bhutan is another addition to the list of countries that will enable Indians to make payment(s) using the BHIM-UPI app in the country. The UPI payment system was launched by NPCI International Payments Ltd. (NIPL), in association with the Royal Monetary Authority (RMA) of Bhutan. This expansion of the use of UPI in Bhutan will open many new avenues for Indian FinTech’s to explore. It will also boost the use of digital payment methods for Bhutan residents.
After Singapore, the Government of India launched UPI in the United Arab Emirates. It is said that nearly 2 million Indians travel to the UAE every year on business or leisure trips so the introduction of UPI as a mode of payment will help Indians transact easily across shops and merchant stores in the UAE. The rollout of UPI was done with partnership between NPCI International Payments Ltd (NIPL) and Mashreq Bank in the first quarter of 2022. This will boost digital payment ecosystem in the UAE and widen the reach of UPI in the international market which will in result smoothen trade transactions between India and the UAE
France too has not joined the list of countries to allow payments via UPI and RuPay cards. NPCI International has recently signed a MoU with France-based payment solution provider Lyra Network of France to accept payments via UPI and RuPay in the country. The association will enable Indians (students and tourists) to easily pay via UPI and RuPay cards at any terminal or machine owned and backed by Lyra Networks.
Future of UPI In International Market
During a bilateral virtual summit on 21 March 2022, India proposed early integration of UPI with the Australian New Payment Platform to improve higher education access and tourism potential.
India and Russia expressed interest in continuing dialogue on accepting UPI. This is done to make Faster Payments System (FPS) of the Central Bank of Russia within their respective national payment infrastructures.
Besides these, NPCI international is also in talks to extend the UPI services to the US, Europe, and West Asian countries. UPI will soon become a globally accepted payment mode. It will not only benefit the respective nations but Indians living/travelling across the world but also boost digital payment among the country residents.