India’s Unified Payments Interface (UPI) has made a significant stride towards digital financial inclusion, transforming the way Indians make payments. And it is now making its mark on the global stage. It is creating waves globally, with many countries looking to adopt it to expand digital payments in their respective countries. The international expansion of UPI is a revolutionary development that could potentially reshape the world of digital payments.
Introduced by the National Payments Corporation of India (NPCI) in 2016, UPI provides a unified platform for instant, secure, and convenient money transfers. Since then it has evolved into one of the most widely adopted digital payments modes in the country, changing the way people send and receive money, pay bills, and make purchases.
Growing significantly over the years with millions of users and transactions worth billions of dollars conducted through the platform each month, UPI has crossed the 10 billion transactions for the second straight month in September 2023.
UPI’s International Foray
UPI’s international presence will allow users from different countries to transact seamlessly and instantly, opening doors for efficient cross-border trade, remittances, and collaborations. The payment service is now being accepted in several countries including Singapore, Bhutan, UAE, UK, US, among others.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi had on October 14, 2023 announced that the government of India and Sri Lanka are working on fintech sector connectivity by linking UPI and Lanka Pay, according to a report by Economic Times. Notably, PM Modi and the President of Sri Lanka, Ranil Wickremesinghe had signed an agreement on UPI in India.
Recently, Jay Shambaugh, Under Secretary of the US Treasury for International Affairs, highlighted India’s UPI for its remarkable efforts in strengthening bilateral connections with other nations like Singapore and the UAE, during his speech at Harvard Law School, according to a report by Business Today.
India also grabbed the opportunity to showcase the country’s digital initiatives during the G20 Summit 2023, held in New Delhi. The Central Government provided hands-on experiences to around 1,000 visiting foreign delegates with UPI wallets technology, ” according to a report by Economic Times quoting ANI.
Hailing India’s digital infrastructure, the German Embassy in India had shared pictures and a small video where Germany’s Federal Minister for Digital and Transport Volker Wissing was seen using UPI to make a payment to a vegetable seller in Bengaluru. He scanned the Paytm QR code and was easily able to make the payment within seconds. Wissing was in Bengaluru to attend the G20 Digital Ministers Meeting held on August 19.
“One of India’s success stories is digital infrastructure. UPI enables everybody to make transactions in seconds. Millions of Indians use it. Federal Minister for Digital and Transport @Wissing was able to experience the simplicity of UPI payments first-hand and is very fascinated!,” German Embassy India Tweeted.
The international expansion of UPI signifies the increasing importance of digital payments and financial inclusion in today’s interconnected world. UPI has the potential to bridge gaps, remove barriers, and bring financial services to the fingertips of people worldwide, paving the way for a more inclusive and digitally empowered global economy.