UPI achieves 2 milestones; plans to go global

UPI, India’s very own domestic payments platform has crossed 100 million users making it the fastes adopted payment system in the world. This was achieved in three years after its launch.

Alongside reaching this landmark, UPI ( Unified Payments Interface ) has also completed one billion transaction in October.

Having achieved two milestones, National Payments Corporation of India (NPCI), which operates the UPI platform, is now aiming to take the network global by enabling acceptance of UPI in Singapore and the UAE.

The UPI platform, which was launched before demonetisation in 2016, enables users to send money from their account to any account without entering bank details by using an email-like handle or scanning a QR code.

“The UPI has had the fastest acceptance not just in payments but among other platforms as well. I have not compared the numbers but given the time taken to reach 100 million users by social media and other platforms. I am sure we should be among the top,” said Dilip Asbe, chief executive officer, NPCI.

“The objective for the next three years is to expand this 100-million base to 500 million. We believe in the next two years the merchant ecosystem will get digitised with the number of QR codes going to 30 million from 10 million now,” he added.

The increase in usage has also increased the challenge to prevent fraudsters. Asbe said “There are two types of fraud— one where people fall for lottery scams and share their details to receive the money, and the second is where fraudsters put up fake helplines online. In the first one the customer is partly to blame, while in the second the customer calls up because he has a problem. We are working with online providers to block fake accounts, but the ultimate solution is education and we are spending more on this,”. The NPCI is pooling with banks to set up a fund to increase awareness on UPI

While all major banks are part of the UPI network and many have proprietary apps, the open architecture of UPI enables any bank account to be accessed from any UPI app.

This has enabled three players—GooglePay, Paytm and PhonePe—to dominate the market as customers of different banks use largely these three apps and the NPCI’s BHIM app to transact. These three have been the most aggressive in enrolling small merchants, including hawkers, to accept payments through the UPI.

One of the reasons why UPI has become popular is that UPI has waived merchant fees for payments up to Rs 100.

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