Launched in 2016, a few months prior to demonetisation, UPI (Unified Payments Interface) has been called one of the crucial elements of growth in India’s digital payments industry. The growth has been manifold and the interface even crossed over 1 Bn monthly transaction mark in September 2019.
A report by the Boston Consulting Group recently showed that UPI will dominate the payments space with 59% payment transactions by 2024-25. This would be followed by mobile and internet-based payments, which will constitute a fifth of the total number of cash and non-cash transactions.
But going into 2020, the UPI growth has ignited a lot of interest. While we had noted that share of UPI transactions value in overall digital payments in the country has fallen in FY18-FY19, in yearly terms UPI has continued to show huge growth.
On January 1, 2020, the NPCI announced that UPI recorded 1.31 Bn transactions in December 2019. With this, the yearly UPI transactions came to 10.78 Bn for 2019 (Jan-Dec). This is 1.87X growth as compared to a total of 3.7 Bn UPI transactions in 2018.
Further, in terms of value, UPI with INR 2.02 Lakh Cr worth transactions in December 2019, closed the year with INR 18.36 Lakh Cr worth UPI transactions in 2019 (Jan-Dec). This is 2.13x Y-o-Y growth from INR 5.85 Lakh Cr worth UPI transactions in 2018 (Jan-Dec).
The growth has been significant and is visible across the board as UPI sees increased adoption across mediums. Mandar Agashe, founder and vice chairman, Sarvatra Technologies told Inc42, “One of the main reasons for UPI’s accelerating growth is the clever marketing strategies of PSP digital payment apps like Google Pay and Phone Pe which successfully attracted many new customers through referral coupons. Additionally, the increasing efforts of the government to push digital literacy as well as boost consumer confidence through security features has led to widespread acceptance of these apps.”
He added, “The implementation of unified QR codes across all kinds of shops in the country has further increased the convenience of doing transactions, especially with the youth. The interoperability of UPI has led to its usage beyond just P2P payments to merchants, causing UPI to outperform all other form of digital payments.”
If we try to understand what all NPCI has done this year to facilitate such growth, here are a few major steps:
- NPCI had launched an updated version dubbed as UPI 2.0. This included additional features such as generating collect payment requests along with invoice/ bill attachment, a one-time mandate with block functionality, signed intent/quick response code and others
- NPCI order mandated retail investors to invest in the IPO via UPI-based Applications Supported by Blocked Amount (ASBA). The UPI mechanism in ASBA will allow the investor to permit a debit from a bank account through the BHIM UPI app or other support bank applications.
- NPCI is working to enable cash withdrawal via UPI. For this, Bank of India, in partnership with end-to-end cash and digital payment solution provider AGS Transact Technologies, has introduced UPI-enabled cash withdrawal for its customers in the next three to six months.
- The government revoked all MDR charges on digital transactions via RuPay and UPI platforms from January 1, 2020
- UPI launched in Singapore, with plans to launch in UAE, etc
As UPI continues to be a major driving force of digital payments in India, how the international expansion and use across other functions like income tax filing, IPO etc help UPI growth remains to be seen.