State Bank of India’s online banking terminal in Mumbai, India (Photographer: Abhijit Bhatlekar/Bloomberg News)

Unified Payments Interface Goes Live For Customers of 21 Banks

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  • National Payments Corporation of India (NPCI) on Thursday said the Unified Payments Interface (UPI) is live and currently available for customers of 21 banks.

    UPI is a payment solution which empowers a recipient to initiate the payment request from a smartphone. It facilitates ‘virtual payment address’ as a payment identifier for sending and collecting money and works on single click 2-factor authentication.

    Real-time sending and receiving money through a mobile application at such a scale on inter-operable basis had not been attempted anywhere else in the world. Now the UPI app will be made available on Google Play Store by banks.
    AP Hota, Managing Director and CEO, NPCI

    Some of the banks which are going live with UPI are Andhra Bank, Axis Bank, Bank of Maharashtra, Bhartiya Mahila Bank, Canara Bank, Oriental Bank of Commerce, Union Bank of India and Vijaya Bank, among others. The soft launch of UPI was announced by the outgoing Reserve Bank Governor Raghuram Rajan in April this year and was under pilot run, mainly with employee-customers, for some time.

    The purpose of the pilot run was to ensure that technical glitches, if any, are fixed and the product gives a smooth experience for immediate pay and collect with Virtual Payment Address (VPA), NPCI said. After assessing the success of pilot run, RBI had accorded its final approval for the public launch of the product.

    NPCI had decided that only the banks with 1,000 pilot customers, 5,000 transactions and success rate of around 80 percent would be permitted to go live. “Such a threshold criteria helped banks to refine their systems and procedure,” Hota said.

    UPI also provides an option for scheduling push and pull transactions for various purposes like sharing bills among peers.

    One can use UPI app instead of paying cash on delivery on receipt of product from online shopping websites and can pay for miscellaneous expenses like paying utility bills, over the counter payments, barcode (scan and pay) based payments, donations, school fees and other such unique and innovative use cases.