More Countries Now Accepting India’s Digital Payment Systems: Key Updates
Steady efforts are being made to expand the use of Indian digital payment systems globally to enable seamless cross-border transactions and empower Indian tourists abroad. NIPL (NPCI International Payments Limited), which deploys RuPay and UPI payment systems, is partnering with countries like Singapore, UAE, Malaysia, France, etc. to use Indian payment systems. The latest entrants to the list are the BENELUX markets – Belgium, the Netherlands and Luxembourg – and Switzerland.
India has made significant progress in expanding the network of its digital payment systems such as RuPay, UPI (unified payment interface), etc. globally, with Europe being the latest region to accept Indian payment systems. Other countries that have adopted different forms of Indian payment systems include France, UAE, Saudi Arabia, Bahrain, Singapore, Maldives, Bhutan, and Oman. This implies that Indians will now be able to make payments through UPI, RuPay, etc. in these countries.
These global partnerships came to fruition as NIPL (NPCI International Payments Limited) entered into partnerships with different countries to build an extensive acceptance network for RuPay and UPI, which will enable Indian travelers to make payments through these channels in their country of destination.
NIPL was incorporated in April 2020 as a wholly owned subsidiary of the National Payments Corporation of India (NPCI), dedicated to rolling out RuPay and UPI outside India.
Recent Developments – Acceptance of India’s UPI in Different Markets
Nepal has become the first foreign country to deploy UPI as a payment platform. NIPL has partnered with Gateway Payments Service (GPS), an authorized payment system operator in Nepal, and Bengaluru-based Manam Infotech. UPI will be deployed in Nepal as a digital public benefit to enhance interoperable real-time person-to-person (P2P) and merchant-to-merchant (P2M) payment transactions.
Bhutan has become the first country to adopt India’s UPI standards for its Quick Response (QR) code. It is also the second country after Singapore to have BHIM-UPI merchant acceptance. On July 13, 2021, UPI was made available to the Royal Monetary Authority of Bhutan. BHIM (Bharat Interface for Money) is India’s digital payment app that works through UPI, a system that powers multiple bank accounts into a single mobile app.
NIPL has entered into a partnership with European payment services facilitator Worldline, with the aim of expanding the acceptance of Indian payment channels across Europe. As part of this partnership, Worldline’s QR code-based mechanism will enable point-of-sale (PoS) systems of merchants in Europe to accept UPI payments from Indians using their mobile phones.
At a later stage, Indian customers will also be able to use their RuPay debit or credit cards to make payments in Europe.
Apart from allowing Indians to travel hassle-free and enjoy seamless payment infrastructure, this step will also increase customer benefits offered to European merchants due to an increase in visitation and spending by Indian tourists.
In his Press release, NIPL said it will target markets such as BENELUX – Belgium, the Netherlands and Luxembourg – and Switzerland. It will grow further with the deployment of Worldline QR in more European countries.
To further strengthen its cross-border payment solutions, TerraPaya leading global payment infrastructure group, announced its partnership with NIPL on September 22, 2022. This partnership aims to enable Indian customers and merchants in the UK with an active UPI to perform and accept cross-border payments seamlessly by leveraging TerraPay’s agile infrastructure and UIP network.
The Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) signed between the Central Bank of Oman (CBO) and NIPL in October 2022 will enable India’s RuPay cards and UPI platform in Oman to facilitate seamless digital funds transfers, which will benefit workers and Indian professionals.
According to the Indian Embassy in Oman, there are around 624,000 Indians in Oman, of which around 483,901 are workers and professionals as of May 2021.
France-based payment service provider Lyra Network has signed an agreement with the NIPL, allowing students and tourists to make payments through UPI.
United Arab Emirates
NIPL has partnered with LuLu Financial Holding, Mashreq Bank and Network International in the United Arab Emirates to enable UPI payments. On April 21, 2022, UPI was launched in the country via Mashreq’s NeoPay.
In July 2022, the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) signed an agreement with the Monetary Authority of Singapore to implement interoperability between UPI and PayNow. The UPI-PayNow link will allow users of each of the two fast payment systems to make instant, low-cost funds transfers on a reciprocal basis without needing to log into the other payment system.
PayNow is Singapore’s fast payment system, which enables a peer-to-peer funds transfer service, available to retail customers through participating banks and non-bank financial institutions (NFIs) in the country. It allows users to send and receive instant funds from one bank or e-wallet account to another in Singapore using only their mobile, Singapore NRIC/FIN or VPA number.
In 2021, Merchantrade Asia from Malaysia collaborated with NIPL, to enable remittance via UPI to India.
Indian digital payment systems: UPI accounts for the bulk of transactions
Meanwhile, UPI’s popularity in India has steadily grown since its launch in 2016. According to a recent report by Worldline titled “India Digital Payments Report”, India recorded 20.57 billion transactions in line worth INR 36.08 trillion in the second quarter of financial year (FY) 2022. The country’s online transactions were processed through debit and credit cards, prepaid payment instruments such as wallets mobile and prepaid cards, and UPI which includes P2M (person-to-merchant) and P2P (person-to-person) transactions.
The report stated that UPI P2P accounted for 49% by volume and 67% by value, but in terms of merchant transactions, UPI P2M emerged as the preferred payment method with a market share of 34% by volume and 17% by value. . .
According to NPCI data, the number of UPI transactions increased by more than 3% to 6.78 billion in September 2022, from 6.57 billion in August 2022.
In September 2022, UPI recorded a new all-time high in transaction volume, totaling INR 11.16 trillion.
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