Three-four countries keen on UPI, says NPCI MD & CEO Dilip Asbe

Unified Payments Interface (UPI) has generated interest from 3-4 countries, National Payments Corporation of India (NPCI)’s Managing Director and Chief Executive Officer Dilip Asbe said on Monday.

The countries had shown interest in adopting UPI but it might take another 12 months to sign up, Asbe said on the sidelines of the first G20 Global Partnership for Financial Inclusion (GPFI) in Kolkata.

“We have received intent from 3-4 countries and we are in the process of working out the next details.”

NPCI, which set up NPCI International about a year and a half back, is looking to support the countries with everything — from technical know-how to software. The Reserve Bank of India (RBI) and the external affairs ministry are supporting the talks with other countries.

“The RBI is supporting us by talking to the other regulators; without the regulator or the government, the UPI system cannot come,” Asbe said.

On the cost structure, the NPCI chief said the objective was to look at $1-million implementation (cost) in smaller countries.

Apart from minor blips during the pandemic, the volume and value of UPI transactions continued to rise over the past two years. The NPCI has eyes set on a target of 1 billion transactions a day from a peak of about 280 million a day, so it’s less than 4X away from daily volumes, pointed out Asbe.

He said a billion transactions a day on the UPI was achievable in the next 2-3 years.

At the GPFI working group meeting in Kolkata, there were panel discussions on the role of digital public infrastructure (DPI) in financial inclusion and productivity gains and also on the digital financial ecosystem based on DPI. About 12 experts from international financial organisations participated in the discussions.

UPI-PayNow integration

The integration between UPI and Singapore’s PayNow is expected to go live shortly, Sopnendu Mohanty, chief fintech officer of the Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS), said.

The collaboration is for remittance and the systems were ready, he said on the sidelines of GPFI in Kolkata. “We are ready, it will happen anytime soon,” said Mohanty.

In September 2021, the MAS and the RBI had announced plans to link PayNow and UPI by July 2022.

The integration will enable low-cost fund transfers. Singapore already has a linkage with Thailand payment systems which brought down the remittance cost from 15 per cent to 3 per cent.

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