On September 6, the National Payments Corporation of India (NPCI) unveiled a range of innovative products aimed at propelling the Unified Payments Interface (UPI), a payment behemoth, toward the goal of achieving 100 billion transactions per month. These offerings encompass a credit line on UPI, a conversational payment mode called ‘Hello UPI,’ BillPay Connect, UPI Tap & Pay, and UPI Lite X, reportedMoneycontrol.com.
This development follows closely on the heels of UPI’s remarkable achievement in August when it processed a record-breaking 10 billion transactions in a single month. In response to these accomplishments, the non-profit organization has significantly elevated its target, shifting from the initial goal of 30 billion monthly transactions to an ambitious target of 100 billion, thanks to the introduction of these new features.
These offerings were officially introduced during an event attended by Shaktikanta Das, the Governor of the Reserve Bank of India (RBI), and Nandan Nilekani, co-founder and non-executive chairman of Infosys, at the Global Fintech Fest held in Mumbai on September 6 this year.
Nilekani said, “NPCI is the crown jewel of India’s technology sector. The structure of NPCI set up by RBI in 2008 as a non-profit company for payments, far expected expectations. It has set the stage for national information utilities. Using NPCI as the template we have several bodies now of similar structures whether it is GSTM for taxes, Digi yatra app, ONDC. All these other tech companies have set up in India on a non-profit basis to create digital public infrastructure, using NPCI’s model. Hope they too will add value.”
“In India, we are going from an offline informal low productivity economy to an online formal high productivity economy as millions of people join society, get digital IDs, bank accounts, mobile solutions, and use digital capital to get credit. In the next 20 years, we will see huge formalisation of India,” he added.
Moreover, Nilekani attributes the realization of this achievement to several factors, including the presence of digital infrastructures like Aadhaar and UPI, as well as the contributions of entrepreneurs. He pointed out that in 2016, India had 1,000 startups, and by 2023, this number has surged to 100,000, reflecting a remarkable tenfold increase.
Das said, “The success of UPI is reflected in the sheer numbers, as it has scaled up in relatively a short period of time. More than 10 billion transactions for over Rs. 15 trillion value were carried out in August 2023. This number is steadily rising and India’s technology stack has accelerated digitalisation through mobile phones and internet.”
“No wonder India accounted for almost half of the real-time digital transactions that happened in the world! Even other countries are keen on associating with UPI, so much so that Indians find themselves having the option of paying through UPI even outside India,” added Das.
Explaining the functioning of these features
To utilize the credit line on UPI, simply follow these steps:
- Scan the QR code using your UPI-linked app to purchase the desired product
- Select the bank of your choice
- Enter the amount for the transaction
- Opt for the credit line as your payment option
This feature is currently available with select public sector and private sector banks and can be accessed through payment apps such as Bhim, Paytm, Payzapp, and GPay.
As for ‘Hello UPI,’ the conversational payment mode, it boasts the ability to comprehend both spoken language and silence. It can convert text into numerical values and also provide text-to-speech capabilities.
For feature phone users, the UPI Lite X offers an upgrade that enables peer-to-peer transactions even without an active network or internet connection. Transactions can be completed with a simple tap between phones, provided they are equipped with near-field communication (NFC) functionality. The actual money transfer will take place once either of the phones reconnects to a network zone.
Elucidating the operation of UPI Tap & Pay
Among these features, UPI Tap & Pay stands out as particularly intriguing. It employs small cards equipped with NFC chips, which are linked to the user's distinctive QR code and UPI ID.
To obtain these cards, users should visit their nearest partner bank, where they'll find a self-service kiosk for generating contactless UPI cards. After selecting a card design from the available options, users need to scan their QR code, which verifies and associates it with the UPI ID. The card is then promptly issued and can be affixed to mobile phones for convenient tap-based payments.