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Travellers to India from G20 nations can use UPI for merchant payments: RBI

Mumbai, February 8, 2023 

UPI transactions touched a record high of 8.03 billion transactions in January, amounting to Rs 12.98 trillion

After allowing access to Unified Payments Interface (UPI) to non-resident Indians, who have international mobile numbers, by linking it to their NRE/NRO accounts, the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) now intends to provide access to UPI to inbound travellers to India to make merchant payments while they are in the country.

To begin with, this facility will be extended to travellers from the G-20 countries, arriving at select international airports. However, going forward, this facility will be enabled across all other entry points in the country, the RBI said.

UPI has become a ubiquitous payment instrument as far as retail digital payments is concerned. And, allowing access to travellers in the country will only add to the volume of transactions on UPI and also make it easier for the tourists to make payments and reduce their dependence on cash.

“This is a great move to scale up the use of digital payments in India as well as improve their payment experience”, said Rajsri Rengan, Head of Banking and Payments, India and Philippines, FIS.

UPI transactions touched a record high of 8.03 billion transactions in January, amounting to Rs 12.98 trillion. In the calendar year 2022, UPI has processed over 74 billion transactions, worth Rs 125.94 trillion, NPCI data shows. In 2021, the platform had processed over 38 billion transactions worth Rs 71.54 trillion.

Separately, the RBI has said it is preparing a pilot project on QR Code based Coin Vending Machine (QCVM) in collaboration with banks to improve the distribution of coins among the general public. Initially, the pilot project would be rolled out at 19 locations in 12 cities across the country, whereby the QCVMs would be installed at public places such as railway stations, shopping malls, marketplaces to enhance ease and accessibility. Based on the learnings from the pilot tests, guidelines would be issued to banks to promote better distribution of coins using QCVMs, RBI said.

The QCVM would be a cashless coin dispensation machine which would dispense coins against a debit to the customer’s bank account using UPI.

The supply of coins is very high and it is taking up a lot of storage space and not getting properly distributed. But at the same time, there is demand in pockets. So, one way of increasing the absorption of coins into the system is to make coins available where there is demand, T Rabi Sankar, Deputy Governor, RBI said.

“We earlier had coin vending machines placed strategically at market places but the problem there was that the currency that was being fed into these machines was found to be fake very often. Hence, we are getting rid of the function of feeding currency entirely and since we have UPI, customers can transfer money from their bank account and withdraw the change”, Sankar said.

[The Business Standard]

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