The National Payments Corporation of India (NPCI) has pressed the button on a new Unified Payments Interface (UPI) to help facilitate the country's push to electronic money.
The Indian government has made the migration from cash to electronic payments a key plank of its strategy to boost financial inclusion, joining the UN-based Better than Cash Alliance and relaxing the regulatory environment for new mobile-based financial services providers.
The NPCI has been tasked with consolidating and integrating the country's various retail payments systems, creating one electronic platform and a set of APIs designed to wean India off of cash and onto electronic transactions, making the most of its 900 million mobile phones.
Central to this, the UPI generates a virtual address as a payment identifier for sending and collecting money over the counter and online and works on single click 2 factor authentication. It also provides an option for scheduling push and pull transactions for various purposes like sharing bills among peers. Customers will be able to have multiple virtual addresses for multiple accounts in various banks and identify themselves merely as their mobile number.
A P Hota, MD & CEO NPCI says: “Today a few banks have gone live with UPI out of 29 banks that had concurred to provide UPI service to their customers. We are confident that several banks will join UPI this year and the number will multiply further."