NPCI in talks to take UPI, RuPay to global markets

bank of india, reserve bank of india, visa, Rupay, NPCI, NPCI International Payments, zelle network, upi

National Payment Corporation of India (NPCI) is in talks with several global agencies to expand the global footprint of indigenous payment networks RuPay and UPI (unified payment interface), possibly in West Asia, the United States, and Europe.

“We are aiming to expand RuPay and UPI acceptance across world destinations, where Indians travel for holidays, study or profession or even stay,” said Ritesh Shukla, chief executive of NPCI International Payments (NIPL), a wholly-owned subsidiary of NPCI for international business. “We are in talks with global agencies through which we are looking to introduce RuPay and UPI to the world.”

Those international agencies may include regulatory authorities, large banks, fintech companies, or even umbrella payment organisations from respective countries.

Some of the likely destinations include Gulf countries like Saudi Arabia, the UAE and Bahrain, European and North American countries, Mauritius and Singapore, payment industry insiders said.

Shukla did not disclose names of agencies NIPL is in talks with, but a senior payment industry executive told ET, “US-based Zelle or The Clearing House could well be partners.”

Zelle Network is a payment platform in the US that deals with banks and credit unions while The Clearing House Payments Company operates core payments system infrastructure in the US.

Zelle Network and The Clearing House did not reply to ET’s queries as of press time Sunday.

The development comes at a time when global payment giant MasterCard is facing regulatory roadblocks in India.

The Reserve Bank of India had last week banned MasterCard from issuing new cards for non-compliance with data storage localisation rules. The development will likely prompt some banks using its services to reach out to RuPay, industry experts said.

RuPay already holds more than 60 per cent market share in terms of number of cards in India, outpacing both MasterCard and Visa which had till recently dominated the turf.

Launched in 2016, UPI reported a 285 per cent compounded annual growth rate (CAGR) in payment volume since 2017 to hit $457 billion in 2020.

To take UPI payment system to global markets, NIPL would be reaching out to tie up with existing QR (quick response) code infrastructure operators.

RuPay acceptance can be made available through point of sale (PoS) terminals and ATMs.

Bhutan recently became the first country to adopt UPI standards for its QR code. It is also the second country after Singapore to have Bhim-UPI acceptance at merchant locations, NIPL had said last week.

Both UPI and RuPay are payment services delivered through NPCI’s multi-rail payment network.

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