Earlier this week reports surfaced that Flipkart’s mobile wallet and UPI platform PhonePe had alleged that private sector bank ICICI had reportedly blocked its payments over ‘restrictive practices’ and ‘security concerns.’
Commenting on the development an ICICI Bank spokesperson said: “A certain non-banking application is following a restrictive practice of allowing only users of its own UPI handle to make payments on its app. This is a clear violation of UPI guidelines which mandate interoperability, wherein users enjoy the freedom to choose any UPI handle to make payments.”
He further added, “NPCI has assured us in writing that this will get corrected very soon and the concerned app will allow interoperability. As soon as this is corrected, ICICI Bank will start allowing UPI transactions to resume on this app.”
However, in an about turn of events, the NPCI on Thursday issued a Ppress release and gave PhonePe a clean chit. It said, “Based on a review by th National Payments Corporation of India (NPCI) on ICICI Bank’s action to block Unified Payments Interface (UPI) transactions made through the PhonePe App, we would like to state that ICICI Bank has been advised to open UPI transactions immediately.”
It further stated, “We had a discussion with ICICI Bank and YES Bank – the banker to PhonePe – to review the matter and arrived at this decision. We have also advised banks including YES Bank to adhere to the merchant on-boarding guidelines meticulously from the angle of interoperability of merchant app so that such disputes are avoided.”
The National Payments Corporation of India (NPCI) was set up in 2009 as the central infrastructure for various retail payment systems in India and was envisaged by the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) as the payment utility for all banks in the country.
PhonePe was conceptualised in 2015 by former Flipkart employees Sameer Nigam, Burzin Engineer, and Rahul Chari. It is a mobile payments app that allows users to transfer money instantly from their smartphones by using their unique identification number (Aadhaar), mobile phone number or a virtual payment address. It was acquired by Flipkart, in April 2016, for an undisclosed amount.
(This development was reported by LiveMint.)