State Bank of India (SBI) has become the largest in the Unified Payments Interface (UPI) space as the YES Bank fiasco in March helped the state-owned bank to ramp the digital payments play.
According to the National Payments Corporation of India’s (NPCI) data, SBI registered the maximum share of UPI-based transactions in the first four months of 2020. Notably, SBI had facilitated 1.3 Bn transactions in the first four months.
As of now, NPCI hasn’t clarified the source of these transactions. This means that all the transactions were carried out on either SBI’s application or third-party apps such as Google Pay.
After SBI, Axis Bank which had facilitated 450 Mn transactions, followed by HDFC Bank, Paytm Payments Bank and ICICI Bank with 427 Mn, 386 Mn and 340 Mn transactions respectively.
SBI facilitated around 350 Mn UPI transactions in February, followed by 347 Mn transactions in January. In March, the number dwindled to 338 Mn and nosedived in April to 298 Mn transactions, majorly due to the Covid-19 lockdown which impacted UPI payments severely.
However, UPI has now reached back to pre-Covid levels by recording 1.2 Bn transactions worth INR 2.2 Lakh Cr in May 2020. Deepak Abbott, who was previously senior vice-president at Paytm, told MoneyControl that UPI has ensured that any bank account holder can easily participate in digital payments, irrespective of that bank’s digital capabilities.
SBI Takes YES Bank’s Spot
Before SBI emerged as the leader in the UPI space, YES Bank had the largest share of UPI transactions in India. Notably, most of the transactions recorded by YES Bank came from PhonePe.
However, in March, the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) had put YES Bank under a moratorium to devise a plan to restructure the company and save the funds deposited. As a result of this decision, NPCI blocked YES Bank’s UPI handles after the RBI imposed a moratorium. The bank had two UPI handles — @ybl and @yesbank.
Being a sole banking partner for 20 of the 32 third-party players on the UPI network, this impacted negatively on several apps but the biggest impact was seen on PhonePe, which was down for 24 hours.
After this, PhonePe partnered with multiple other banks to facilitate UPI transactions on the application. As a result, YES Bank lost most of its UPI share in the market to other banks. Prior to this fiasco, YES Bank had recorded around 573 Mn UPI transactions in a single month.