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October 13, 2022

On the web

Can India’s UPI system Go global?


“In November 2019, Alphabet-owned Google wrote to the US Federal Reserves, asking the central bank to design its upcoming instant payments system FedNow on the lines of India’s Unified Payments Interface or UPI. It said, an open payments system fosters collaboration between technology and financial service providers, adding that India’s approach attained “amazing” results for banks, consumers and other players within the payments ecosystem. In 2021, UPI processed around 39 billion transactions totalling $940 billion, equivalent to 31% of India’s GDP. As if on cue, in August 2020, the National Payments Corporation of India, which operates UPI, launched NPCI International Payments, a subsidiary tasked with exporting NPCI’s indigenously developed offerings like UPI and the RuPay card network to foreign markets.”

October 12, 2022

On the web

India’s Central Bank RBI Publishes Digital Currency Details — Confirms Digital Rupee Pilot Launching ‘Soon’

Bitcoin News

“India’s central bank, the Reserve Bank of India (RBI), published a report titled “Concept Note on Central Bank Digital Currency” Friday. The 51-page document explains the “objectives, choices, benefits, and risks of issuing” a central bank digital currency (CBDC) in India, the RBI described, adding that it has been exploring the pros and cons of introducing a central bank digital currency “for some time.” The RBI clarified that the upcoming CBDC, also referred to as e₹ (digital rupee) “is substantially not different from banknotes, but being digital it is likely to be easier, faster, and cheaper.””

October 7, 2022

On the web

India’s RBI to Soon Commence Pilot Project of Digital Rupee

The Wire

“The Reserve Bank of India will soon commence limited pilot launches of a central bank backed digital rupee for specific use cases, it said in a concept paper released on Friday. The RBI has been exploring the pros and cons of a central bank digital currency for some time and is working towards a strategy to implement it in a phased manner, it said. Use cases are being examined for an e-rupee in a way that there is minimal or no disruption to the financial system, the RBI added.”

October 4, 2022

On the web

September 22, 2022

On the web

TerraPay and NPCI International Collaborate to Drive Seamless Merchant Payments Via UPI-enabled QR Codes

PR Newswire

“In a strategic move to further strengthen its cross-border payment solutions, TerraPay, a leading global payments infrastructure group today announced its partnership with NPCI International Payments Limited (NIPL), the International arm of National Payments Corporation of India (NPCI). This association with NIPL will allow Indian customers and merchants in India with an active Unified Payments Interface Id (UPI Id) to make and accept cross-border payments seamlessly by leveraging TerraPay’s agile infrastructure and the UPI network.”

September 21, 2022

On the web

UPI Supercharged Mobile Payments in India. It’s Now Gearing Up for Next Phase of Growth


“In just six years, UPI has become the most popular way Indians transact online. The mobile electronics payments system was used for over 6.57 billion transactions in the world’s second largest internet market last month. Now, it’s taking steps to supercharge its growth. The payments network, which was built by a coalition of banks, is India’s attempt to challenge card companies in an open market, bring hundreds of millions of people into the fold of digital payments and curb the proliferation of corruption.”

September 14, 2022

On the web

India Allows Cross-Border Payments: NRIs Will Soon be Able to Pay Bills Directly in India

Gulf News

“Non-Resident Indians (NRIs) no longer need to pay routine bills of their families in India by sending money to their India-based accounts. They can now pay directly from wherever they are overseas by using a new government bill payment portal. The Reserve Bank of India (RBI) has allowed NRIs to pay bills through Bharat Bill Pay System (BBPS), a payment portal of National Payments Corporation of India (NPCI), an initiative of RBI and Indian Banks’ Association (IBA) enabling digital payments and settlement systems in India.”

Cashfree Payments enables DASH to Manage the Payments from 2,000+ Small Merchants in Tier-3 Areas

PR Newswire

“Cashfree Payments, a leading payment and API banking solutions company, is enabling door-step payment collection for DASH, a tech-led go-to-market platform for brands in Tier-3 towns. DASH will be using Cashfree Payments’ point of sale solution, softPOS , to offer this service to more than 2,000 small merchants in Tier-3 areas. softPOS is a point of sale (POS) solution which can convert an Android phone into a POS machine. Businesses can use the app to generate UPI QR codes, create payment links, and enable card payments via NFC-based Tap and Pay, and also record and manage cash collections. softPOS also offers payment methods such as wallets, EMI etc. through this solution.”

September 8, 2022

On the web

PhonePe Tokenises 14 Million Cards Ahead of RBI’s Deadline of Sept 30

Business Standard

“PhonePe on Thursday said it has tokenised 14 million credit and debit cards on its platform in line with the Reserve Bank of India’s (RBI) mandate for information security. The Walmart-backed company said it has tokenised more than 80 per cent of its active users’ cards since it started the exercise in December 2021. Tokenisation replaces an actual card number with an alternative code called the ‘token’. A tokenised transaction is safer as the actual card details are not shared with a merchant during transactions, reducing the chance of information leakage.”

Brazil, India Join CBDC Race: Will Start Pilot Projects in 2022

24/7 Wall St.

“India and Brazil are the latest countries to jump on the CBDC bandwagon by announcing upcoming pilot projects. The move comes as countries like China and The Bahamas have already launched their CBDCs, with others pursuing similar plans. Both emerging countries are planning to start a pilot project this year. The Reserve Bank of India (RBI) has reportedly asked four state-run banks to run a pilot Central Bank Digital Currency (CBDC) project, testing its digital rupee ahead of a possible rollout in this financial year. The RBI has chosen the State Bank of India, Punjab National Bank, Union Bank of India, and Bank of Baroda “to run the pilot internally,” according to a report by Money Control.”

September 1, 2022

On the web

NPCI Directs Payment Apps Not To Charge Platform Fee On BBPS


“The national payments corporation of India (NPCI), reportedly, has directed the payment apps to stop charging platform fees for the Bharat bill payment system (BBPS) payments. This directive comes in line after a discussion paper related to such payment charges was released by Reserve Bank of India. The reports said that government is likely to treat the unified payments interface (UPI) as public good in which customers do not required paying. According to news reports, PhonePe, which has the largest share of UPI transactions in India, had also started taking payment charges on some of its recharges and other payments. Similarly, in July, Paytm also started charging INR 1 for various bill payments. It is on this ground, NPCI released the directive.”

August 30, 2022

On the web

Meta and Jio Launch Grocery Shopping on WhatsApp in India


“Meta and an e-commerce venture between India’s Reliance Retail and Jio Platforms are bringing grocery shopping to WhatsApp in what they said was a global-first end-to-end shopping experience on the popular instant messaging platform. The launch of JioMart on WhatsApp follows Meta and JioMart beginning to test an integration with select users two years ago. If successful, a commerce engine could prove to be a major source of revenue for WhatsApp, which has largely avoided serving ads to app users. Customers in India will be able to browse JioMart’s entire grocery catalog on WhatsApp, add items to a cart and make the payments via local payments rail UPI without ever leaving the instant messaging service, the companies said.”

August 24, 2022

On the web

India Lifts Ban on American Express


“India has lifted business restrictions on American Express, once again permitting the U.S. giant to onboard new customers in the South Asian market after the firm demonstrated “satisfactory compliance” with local data storage rules, the local central bank said Wednesday. In a series of moves last year, the Reserve Bank of India indefinitely barred Mastercard, American Express and Diners Club from issuing new debit, credit or prepaid cards to customers over noncompliance with local data storage rules. The business restriction allowed the firms to continue to serve their existing customers in the country. India lifted the ban on Mastercard in June this year.”

August 8, 2022

On the web

NRIs Can Pay Utility Bills Using Bharat Bill Payment System (India)

Tribuneindia News Service

“The Indian diaspora will soon be able to pay utility bills and other recurring payments like fees using the Bharat Bill Payment System (BBPS), the Reserve Bank announced on Friday. The RBI made it clear that the move is not driven by the need to attract more remittances at a time when the domestic currency is under pressure, nor it is the result of its efforts to minimise the spreads made by banks while converting currency. The Bharat Bill Payment System (BBPS) is an interoperable platform for standardised bill payments. Over 20,000 billers are part of the system, and more than 8 crore transactions are processed on a monthly basis.”

August 2, 2022

On the web

UPI Crosses Record 6 Billion Transactions in July 2022 (India)


“Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Tuesday hailed the achievement of Unified Payments Interface (UPI) transactions crossing 6 billion in July — the highest ever since its launch six years back. According to data released by the National Payments Corporation of India (NPCI), UPI reported 6.28 billion transactions worth Rs 10.62 trillion in July — an increase of 7 percent over June… In FY22, UPI processed more than 46 billion transactions amounting to over Rs 84.17 trillion, thus breaching the $1 trillion mark. UPI’s target is to process a billion transactions a day in the next five years. The UPI facility was launched on April 11, 2016, by then Reserve Bank of India Governor Raghuram Rajan.”

July 26, 2022

On the web

RuPay Credit Card For UPI Payment By Scanning QR Code Will Be Launched Very Soon

Sangri Today

“In the meeting of the Reserve Bank of India’s Monetary Policy Committee in June, it was decided that now UPI transactions can also be done with the help of credit cards. Work is progressing rapidly in this direction. National Payment Corporation of India (NPCI) is in talks with several banks to allow transactions by scanning QR codes with the help of RuPay credit cards. To give relief to small merchants, they are also being considered for exemption in the MDR charge. Merchant Discount Rate (MDR) is the charge paid by the merchant to the bank for processing the payment. This can be up to 2-3 percent of the transaction. The bank charges up to a 2-3 percent merchant discount rate on credit card transactions from large shopkeepers. NPCI is considering giving relief to small shopkeepers from this charge.”

July 21, 2022

On the web

The Regulatory Implications of India’s Crypto Transactions Tax


“The Indian crypto landscape lost some momentum this year as the government introduced two laws demanding crippling taxes on crypto-related unrealized gains and transactions. India’s first crypto law, which requires its citizens to pay a 30% tax on unrealized crypto gains, came into effect on April 1. A commotion among the Indian crypto community followed as investors and entrepreneurs tried to decipher the impact of the vague announcement with little or no success. Knowing that India’s second crypto law — a 1% tax deduction at source (TDS) on every transaction — would translate into an even greater impact on trading activities, numerous crypto entrepreneurs from India considered moving bases to friendlier jurisdictions.”

July 20, 2022

On the web

RBI’s Digital Currency: Phased Implementation in Process for Wholesale, Retail Segments

DNA India

“The Reserve Bank of India is in the process of implementing the Central Bank Digital Currency (CBDC) in a phased manner for the wholesale and retail segments, an official said on Wednesday. The introduction of CBDC was announced in the Union Budget 2022-23, by Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman and necessary amendments to the relevant section of the RBI Act, 1934 has been made with the passage of the Finance Bill 2022, Ajay Kumar Choudhary, Executive Director (Fintech), Reserve Bank of India (RBI) said. The passage of the bill has enabled the RBI to conduct a pilot and subsequent issuance of CBDC, he said. “RBI is also working on phased implementation of a central bank digital currency (CBDC) in both wholesale and retail segment,” Choudhary said while delivering a keynote address at the ‘PICUP Fintech Conference & Awards’ by FICCI. CBDC is a digital or virtual currency but it is not comparable to the private virtual currencies or cryptocurrency that have mushroomed over the last decade. Private virtual currencies do not represent any person’s debt or liabilities as there is no issuer.”

July 18, 2022

On the web

India’s Central Bank Wants to Ban Cryptocurrencies, Government Says


“India’s central bank wants to ban cryptocurrencies, the government told the parliament on Monday, raising more uncertainty about the future of the nascent virtual digital asset in the world’s second largest internet market. Nirmala Sitharaman, the minister of finance in India, said Monday that the Reserve Bank of India has expressed concerns about the “destabilising effect of cryptocurrencies on the monetary and fiscal stability of a country” and has recommended “for framing of legislation on this sector,” she said. “RBI is of the view that cryptocurrencies should be prohibited,” she added.”

July 14, 2022

On the web

Internet Body to Dismantle Blockchain and Crypto Assets Council (India)

The Economic Times

“The Internet and Mobile Association of India (IAMAI) has decided to dismantle the Blockchain and Crypto Assets Council (BACC), which was formed to represent crypto exchanges before authorities like the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) and other key government departments.According to two sources familiar with the development, IAMAI decided to distance itself from cryptocurrency.”

July 12, 2022

On the web

As Silicon Valley Fantasizes About Web3, India Leaps Ahead on Payments


“For more than a decade, Silicon Valley’s moguls have been promoting Bitcoin and blockchain-based cryptocurrencies, claiming these will transform global commerce. Instead, Bitcoin long ago died as a digital currency, becoming nothing more than an empty speculative asset with its value most recently plunging from $60,000 to less than $20,000. Meanwhile, as those same hypesters now promote a mystical Internet world called Web3, India is racing ahead and implementing what the crypto crowd had promised—with its Unified Payment Services (UPI).”

July 6, 2022

On the web

India Opens Up Its Digital Payments Systems and Other Key Tech


“The Indian government on Monday said that it was making its identity management and digital payments systems available to any interested nation via open APIs under the name of Indiastack.global. India Stack, which started its journey in 2010 as a digital identity project under the name ‘Aadhaar’, is made up of a database of biometric information of citizens and digital tools for paperless, cashless service delivery…The India Stack centers around Aadhaar for digital identity and digital payments systems such as the United Payments Interface (UPI), but none are owned or maintained by a single body in the government.”

July 5, 2022

On the web

Why India Is No Fan of Buy Now, Pay Later


“It seems that India’s central bank is no fan of “buy now, pay later.” But then, the regulator’s irritation with this newish fad in consumer finance is wholly understandable…It was all getting a bit too much. So last week, the Reserve Bank of India brought out its regulatory axe and hacked away at a popular path to small-ticket fintech loans. According to new RBI guidelines, nonbanks can no longer load prepaid instruments — digital wallets, or stored-value cards — using credit lines. The only valid options for a buyer are to prefill their wallet with cash, or to debit their bank or credit-card accounts… The RBI wants every small-ticket loan to be a marriage officially solemnized in the church of banking.”

June 29, 2022

On the web

New RBI Circular Creates Panic In The ‘Buy Now Pay Later’ Sector


“An RBI letter asking “All Non-Bank Pre-Paid Instruments (PPI) Issuers” to cease issuing cards has led to the ‘buy now pay later’ (BNPL) sector expressing concerns. The BNPL sector: Participants in the sector include companies that provide PPIs to customers with little creditworthiness, like students and young professionals.”

June 24, 2022

On the web

RBI Extends Deadline for Card Tokenisation by Another 3 Months till Sept 30

Business Standard

“The Reserve Bank of India (RBI) is extending the deadline for card-on-file (CoF) tokenisation by another three months to September 30 as transaction processing based on such tokens is yet to gain traction across categories of merchants. It was mandated that no entity in the card transaction or in the payment chain, other than the card issuers and / or card networks, can store the CoF data, and any such data stored previously be purged. The initial deadline was January 1, which was extended by six months.”

June 22, 2022

On the web

RBI Payments Vision 2025: Increase Digital Transactions by 3X


“The Reserve Bank of India (RBI) has unveiled its ‘Payments Vision 2025’, which intends to boost the country’s e-payments ecosystem. The Reserve Bank of India (RBI) has released a design for payment system regulation that intends to give customers quick, easy, and affordable electronic payment choices.   As part of its Vision 2025, the RBI outlined regulations for BigTech and FinTechs, as well as buy-now-pay-later (BNPL) systems and the creation of a central bank digital currency (CBDC).”

June 14, 2022

On the web

Credit Card Linkage to UPI: Uncertainty Over Pricing Leaves Players in Dark


“While the Reserve Bank of India’s (RBI’s) decision to allow linking of RuPay credit cards to Unified Payments Interface (UPI) has been received positively by the industry as it is expected to open up a big payment universe, an uncertainty over the pricing structure has left players seeking clarity on how such a move will be implemented. Whether it is a credit card, debit card, or UPI, the consumer doesn’t incur any charge, it is the merchant who bears the cost in terms of merchant discount rate (MDR). While there is no MDR on UPI, for debit cards, it is capped at 0.9 per cent. There is, however, no cap on MDR for credit cards. Typically, credit cards (non-RuPay) have MDRs of 200 bps vs 50 bps MDR on debit cards. Rupay debit cards have no MDR whereas Rupay credit cards typically have lower MDRs vs those on Visa/Mastercard. Also, usually, in MDR, the issuing bank takes 60 per cent, and the balance is shared between the network provider (Visa, Mastercard, etc.) and acquirer….When asked about the pricing structure, T Rabi Sankar, deputy governor, RBI, said: “How the pricing structure will work out we will have to see because it’s something that the banks and system entities have to do. At this point, we will introduce the arran­gement and see how the pricing goes”….Also, there is no clarity on whether the facility will be extended to credit cards of other card networks, such as Visa, Mastercard, American Express, etc.”

May 27, 2022

On the web

RBI Working on Phased Approach Ahead of Digital Currency Launch

The New Indian Express

“The Reserve Bank of India (RBI) will adopt a graded approach to introduce the blockchain-based Central Bank Digital Currency (CBDC). It is planning a step-by-step approach – right from proof of concepts to pilots – before launching the digital currency. The central bank has been exploring the pros and cons of introducing the digital currency in India, ever since it was announced in the Union Budget.     Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman, during her Budget speech, said the digital currency would be introduced by 2023.”

May 11, 2022

On the web

Why Crypto’s Rough Year In India Just Got Worse


India’s latest decisions governing cryptocurrency portend turbulent times ahead for the country’s nascent but booming digital currency industry. During its launch event in India on April 7, American cryptocurrency giant Coinbase announced that its Indian investors would be able to use the country’s popular online payments system, UPI, to transfer funds to its local exchange. The pronouncement effectively operationalized the exchange in the world’s second-largest internet market. But hours later, the National Payments Corporation of India (NPCI), the regulatory agency overseeing UPI, released a terse, one-sentence statement claiming it was unaware of any cryptocurrency exchange using the payments system.

May 9, 2022

On the web

UPI Transactions Reaches New Heights with 5.58 Billion in April 2022


According to information provided by the National Payments Corporation of India (NPCI), 5.58 billion transactions were processed using the Unified Payments Interface (UPI) in April 2022. This is the most extensive number of UPI transactions in a single month since the system was launched in 2016.  Last month, the payments network saw transactions worth Rs. 9.83 lakh crore.

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