The Indian government has been actively working towards making its digital payment systems global, particularly the Unified Payments Interface (UPI), to facilitate seamless cross-border transactions and lower the cost of fund transfers and remittance payments. In line with this vision, Hon’ble Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi announced that India’s highly successful UPI system will now be used in France, allowing Indian tourists to make users may make rupee payments via UPI at the famous Eiffel Tower
The international expansion of India’s digital payment ecosystem has reached a major turning point with the incorporation of UPI in France. UPI’s adoption in foreign countries will provide India with a plethora of benefits, such as eliminating the need for forex cards and the hassle of carrying cash while travelling.
Under the UPI Global initiative, the National Payments Corporation of India (NPCI) has been actively working to enable UPI adoption in several countries across the world. Let’s take a closer look at countries that have looked at India’s UPI linkages with other nations:
Bhutan became the first country to accept UPI transactions using the BHIM app in July 2021. NPCI International Payments Ltd. (NIPL) has collaborated with the Royal Monetary Authority (RMA) of Bhutan to enable BHIM UPI QR-based payments in the country.
Nepal agreed to implement UPI for digital transactions in March 2022. NIPL collaborated with Gateway Payments Service Pvt. Ltd. and Manam Infotech Private Limited to bring UPI for real-time person-to-person (P2P) and merchant-payment transactions to the nation.
United Arab Emirates (UAE):
The United Arab Emirates (UAE) adopted BHIM UPI in April 2022 via NEOPAY terminals, the payment subsidiary of Mashreq Bank, across the nation. This enabled millions of Indians visiting the UAE to use BHIM UPI to conduct secure and practical payments.
Oman also incorporated the UPI payment system in October 2022. A formal agreement was signed between the NPCI and the Central Bank of Oman (CBO) to facilitate UPI transactions in the country.
NIPL signed a deal with Liquid Group to enable QR-based UPI payments’ acceptance in 10 countries across north and southeast Asia, including Malaysia. To provide real-time remittances to India via the UPI platform, NIPL also collaborated with Merchantrade Asia Sdn. Bhd.
In August 2022, India and the UK announced collaboration on QR code-based transactions. PayXpert, a payments solutions provider, partnered with NIPL to build a seamless payment solutions platform in the UK. The platform already supports UPI-based QR code payments, and it will afterwards add support for RuPay card payments.
A formal partnership between India’s UPI and Singapore’s PayNow was established in February 2023 to facilitate quicker and more affordable transfers between the two nations.
Participating banks can now facilitate low-cost fund transfers between India and Singapore.
In order to increase the acceptance of Indian payment methods throughout Europe, Worldline, a leader in payment services, partnered with NIPL in October 2022.. Initially targeting BENELUX (Belgium, the Netherlands, and Luxembourg) and Switzerland, Worldline QR will gradually roll out in more European countries.
In 2016, UPI was first introduced in India to allow people with the power to make instant, round-the-clock payments using a Virtual Payment Address (VPA). With this, the facility of both Person-to-Person (P2P) and Person-to-Merchant (P2M) payments were induced to offer a seamless way for users to send or receive money.
The UPI is becoming popular in nations across the world, and with more countries accepting it, Indian travellers will find it more convenient and easier to travel overseas. As more countries fall under the UPI ambit, India will be leading the way in the digital payments arena.