Digital payments boost: At Rs 1,310 cr, UPI beats wallets, RBI data shows

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UPI clocked 2.9 million transactions aggregating Rs 1,310 crore between February 1 and 19 while prepaid payment instruments, better known as wallets, recorded 53.9 million transactions worth Rs 1,270 crore in the same period.

The value of transactions carried out through the Unified Payments Interface (UPI) channel has overtaken that through mobile wallets in February so far, representative data released by the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) shows. UPI clocked 2.9 million transactions aggregating Rs 1,310 crore between February 1 and 19 while prepaid payment instruments, better known as wallets, recorded 53.9 million transactions worth Rs 1,270 crore in the same period. The data for wallets is sourced from eight non-bank issuers. This indicates that with an average transaction value of about Rs 235, wallets are being used for transactions of relatively smaller value.

The average ticket size for a UPI transaction works out to about R4,517, indicating that the channel is being used for making money transfers, unlike wallets which are more likely to be used while making purchases at kirana stores or paying for public transport. UPI has seen a limited adoption by merchants so far.

Ever since UPI was launched in August 2016, it had been seeing limited adoption compared to wallets because of the latter’s superior marketing push. That changed with the launch of the Bharat Interface for Money (BHIM) app in January, which was promoted exclusively as a platform for UPI payments and unveiled by Prime Minister Narendra Modi.

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UPI’s parent company, National Payments Corporation of India (NPCI), is now trying to penetrate the small merchants space with the BharatQR code, launched earlier this week. In terms of usage, the code will be similar to the way wallets are used for making payments – scanning a QR code containing the merchant’s account information.

BharatQR is based upon the debit and credit card infrastructure, most of which is owned and operated by Mastercard, Visa, NPCI-owned RuPay and American Express. As such, it will be completely interoperable, which means one need not have a card issued by the same company that has issued the QR code for the merchant.

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