e-RUPI is a prepaid e-voucher that was launched on August 2, primarily to provide cashless payment solution to the beneficiaries of social benefits. It is a cashless and contactless instrument used for making digital payment via a QR code or SMS — delivered straight to the beneficiary’s phone. It can be used for a particular purpose such as to pay for the COVID-19 vaccine or to claim subsidies.
Multiple applications of e-RUPI
It can be used by the government to provide numerous welfare schemes such as nutritional support under mother and child welfare, TB eradication programmes, for fertilizer subsidies, and for providing drugs and diagnostics under a range of schemes including Ayushman Bharat Pradhan Mantri Jan Arogya Yojana. Though launched primarily for its usage in public healthcare, its footprint can be seen in the corporate sector as well since it ensures leak-proof delivery of welfare services.
It was developed by the National Payments Corporation of India (NPCI) with the support of the Department of Financial Services (DFS) and National Health Authority (NHA).
Safe and secure usage
Once received, the consumers can use the voucher without any external intervention, be it a debit card, a payments app or net banking. It is safe and easy to use, and also makes sure to maintain the confidentiality of users’ data. Also, since it is supported by the latest sophisticated tools of financial technology, the transaction takes place swiftly without any delay.
For a transaction to complete, there are three parties involved: issuer of the voucher, beneficiary who received it, and the merchant. The issuer (government) issues the prepaid voucher to the beneficiary to be used at the merchant (say a hospital). It is an end-to-end transaction which doesn’t need support of any physical card.
Upon receiving the voucher, the beneficiary is supposed to share the verification code with the hospital to be able to redeem it. The user only needs a mobile phone and e-voucher to use the voucher – and does not need even the print out of e-voucher. Once it is used, the issuer can track its usage, thus making it a secure and safe mode of payment.
As of now, eight major banks support e-RUPI payments. These include State Bank of India, HDFC Bank, Axis Bank, Punjab National Bank, Bank of Baroda, Canara Bank, IndusInd Bank and ICICI Bank. Once it becomes a popular mode of online transaction, other banks might also follow suit.