Google Pay and National Payments Corporation of India (NPCI) will work together to expand Unified Payments Interface (UPI), the instant payments system widely used in the country, to international markets, Google and NPCI confirmed Wednesday. A Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) has been signed between Google Pay India and NPCI subsidiary, NPCI International Payments Ltd (NIPL), to bring the instant payment functionality to other countries. UPI has become a widespread mode of digital payment throughout India in recent years, with interoperability between payments apps like Google Pay, PhonePe, and Paytm. The value processed via UPI payments in 2023 stood at Rs. 167 lakh crores, according to Google.
The MoU signed between Google Pay India and NIPL primarily seeks to ease digital payments abroad for travellers outside of India. The collaboration will also aid in establishing a UPI-style digital payments infrastructure in other countries, a press release for the announcement said. Additionally, Google and NPCI also aim to leverage the UPI infrastructure to ease the process of remittances between countries, thus simplifying cross-border financial exchanges.
“UPI has demonstrated to the world the step change that happens in economies with the introduction of interoperable, population scale digital infrastructure and each economy that joins such networks will create impact beyond the sum of parts,” Deeksha Kaushal, director of partnerships at Google Pay India said.
According to the press release, the initiative will also help bring Indian customers to foreign merchants, reducing the need for credit or forex cards and instead allow UPI apps like Google Pay for international digital payments. “This strategic partnership will not only simplify foreign transactions for Indian travellers but will also allow us to extend our knowledge and expertise of operating a successful digital payments ecosystem to other countries,” Ritesh Shukla, CEO of NPCI International Payments Limited, said.
Last year, Google Pay introduced a UPI Lite feature on its platform that enables small-value digital payments with just one tap, without the need to enter the UPI PIN, as required in regular transactions. UPI Lite supports a maximum instant transaction of up to Rs. 200 at a time. Users can load their UPI Lite account with up to Rs. 2,000, twice a day.
In August, the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) increased the UPI Lite transaction limit from Rs. 200 to Rs. 500. The overall wallet limit, however, was retained at Rs. 2,000 only. A month later, NPCI said that UPI transactions had crossed the 10-billion mark in August. According to the NPCI data, number of UPI transactions stood at 10.24 billion on August 30. In value terms, the transactions amounted to Rs. 15,18,456.4 crore exchanging hands.