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Apps that enable UPI payments or will start doing so soon

LiveMint logoLiveMint 12-07-2017 Komal Gupta

New Delhi: With Unified Payments Interface (UPI) emerging as a popular mode of making digital payments, a plethora of third-party or non-bank-owned apps have started supporting UPI-based payments.

UPI is a payment system launched by National Payments Corp. of India (NPCI) which facilitates instant fund transfer between two bank accounts on the mobile platform without having any details of the beneficiary’s bank. Transactions using UPI rose to a record 10.2 million in June, a five-fold increase since December, according to a statement from NPCI.

UPI was launched in August 2016 with 21 banks, and is currently being offered by about 52 banks.

Mint takes a look at some of the apps which have recently started offering the service and also those which are in the process of launching it.

Mobile chat platforms

WhatsApp: Facebook-owned WhatsApp has received permission from NPCI to enter into partnership with multiple banks to allow users to make in-app payments and money transfers using UPI, Times of India reported on Tuesday.

WhatsApp had been in talks with banks for a while now. The approval for multi-bank partnership could put its payments business ambition on fast track. Some of the banks WhatsApp is in talks with are Axis Bank, ICICI Bank and Punjab National Bank (PNB), among others, the report said.

Hike: In June, Hike, a mobile chat platform, launched peer-to-peer payments based on the UPI framework and a native wallet service, becoming the first chat app in India to do so.

Truecaller: This spam-caller identification app launched peer-to-peer mobile payments in March. It is one of the most popular apps on the Google Play Store. More than 250 million people use Truecaller every day to identify unknown calls, block spam calls and spam SMS.

Payment apps

Paytm: In January, Paytm, run by One97 Communications Pvt. Ltd, integrated UPI with its platform to help users transfer money into their Paytm wallets more easily.

“Users can now add money to their Paytm Wallets using their unique UPI ID. When adding money, a new option called UPI now shows up on the Paytm app, alongside net banking, debit card, and credit card options. Once they enter their UPI ID on the payment page, a collect-money request is sent to their UPI-enabled apps on their smartphone. After they accept the payment request and enter their pin code for UPI transactions, the transaction is complete, and the money is instantly added to the Paytm wallet,” said the company in a statement issued in January.

MobiKwik: This payment app launched the same service in October last year. MobiKwik has tie-ups with around 10, 0000 merchants, including Myntra, Shopclues, Big Bazaar, Big Basket and Grofers, MakemyTrip and OYO rooms.

PhonePe: Flipkart-owned PhonePe is widely considered to be the second-most popular UPI after Bharat Interface for Money (BHIM) app. The company said it crossed 10 million users in January.

According to a report in the Economic Times on Tuesday, “Forty-five percent of the transactions are happening through BHIM and 40 per cent is being driven by PhonePe,” said A.P. Hota, managing director, NPCI. “Thirty-six banks together now account for only 15 per cent share of UPI transactions, which is very low.”

Digital wallets can currently access the UPI network through partner banks to facilitate bank-to-bank money transfers.

Technology companies

Technology firm Google has completed the testing of its UPI payment service and is awaiting Reserve Bank of India’s (RBI) approval to launch its service in the country, NPCI said on Monday.

“Quite likely Google would come first, because their testing is more or less complete…We have written to RBI seeking approval just two or three days back,” a PTI report quoted Hota as saying. For Facebook, discussions are in preliminary stage,” he added.

Google announced the launch of Android Pay in March 2015. The same month, Facebook announced that it would enable peer-to-peer payments through Facebook Messenger.

Adoption of UPI-based payments by the likes of Facebook, WhatsApp and Google could significantly boost digital payments adoption in India. According to data portal, Facebook had 213 million users in India in April 2017, while WhatsApp had about 160 million active users in India in November 2016.

Hota said e-commerce giant Amazon and cab hailing space Uber will soon accept UPI payments. Noting that UPI is being taken up in a big way, he said, “A good deal of amazing work is underway, Amazon will shortly come in, the testing and integration process is on... Uber- process is on; Ola-process has been completed. Money transfer, payment process is being made easier,” PTI quoted him as saying on Monday.

“As a technology driven company, we applaud the potential and impact that fin-tech innovations like UPI can make... UPI is the future of Indian payments and we are proud to be a partner in this monumental mission of the government to facilitate a digital payments led society,” PTI quoted from an Uber statement.

Payments banks

Paytm Payments Bank, a unit of One97 Communications, plans to go live with UPI in August as it aims to widen its payments network for merchants and users.

Paytm Payments Bank said it will allow its customers to create a unique UPI account through which they can send and receive money. Through the new IDs, merchants will also be able to accept payments over UPI.

“We will soon enable seamless creation of UPI IDs on our platform so that users can send and receive money to each other, and for merchant payments,” Paytm Payments Bank chief executive Renu Satti said in a statement in June.

The payments bank, rolled out on 23 May after having received an investment of Rs220 crore from its parent company, competes with Airtel Payments Bank Ltd and India Post Payments Bank Ltd.

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