While Google has completed discussions with NPCI, Facebook and WhatsApp as in preliminary talks.

Google Facebook WhatsApp and Uber in talks with NPCI to enable UPI-based payments
Atom Digital Payments Tuesday, July 11, 2017 - 11:22

In what could be a major boost to digital payments in India, global technology bigwigs Google, Facebook and WhatsApp are in talks with National Payments Corporation of India (NPCI) for Unified Payments Interface (UPI)-enabled payments to be enabled on their platforms.

According to a Mint report, Google is in advanced talks with NPCI to integrate Android Pay with UPI. NPCI has now requested the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) to consider Google’s application AP Hota, NPCI managing director said on Monday.

Hota told Mint that Facebook and WhatsApp have also initiated talks for the same.

“Google is testing UPI-enabled payments. The Reserve Bank of India has to look into it. Facebook and WhatsApp are in preliminary talks as well. Google and apps such as WhatsApp and Facebook will have a pervasive presence in India. Such an integration is technologically possible but we are waiting for the RBI’s approval. Such a move can make a difference as these companies can bring in volumes,” Hota told Mint.

All technology majors have forayed into payments over the past few years. Google announced Android Pay in March 2015. Around the same time, Facebook also announced peer-to-peer payments through Messenger. A few months ago, there were media reports that WhatsApp is planning to launch UPI-enabled peer-to-peer payments in India.

Amazon India received a nod from RBI to launch its digital payments service Amazon Pay in India.

In June, mobile chat platform Hike also launched peer-to-peer payments based on the UPI framework and a native wallet service, becoming the first chat app in India to do so. A month before that, Truecaller, a spam-caller identification app, launched peer-to-peer mobile payments in March.

“We are always looking for ways to make it easy for people to pay with their mobile devices, such as Android Pay in some countries, and looking to expand those capabilities to the next billion users,” a Google spokesperson told Mint.

Facebook and WhatsApp have a huge customer base in India. While Facebook had 213 million users in India in April 2017, WhatsApp had around 160 million. If these tech platforms adopt UPI, this could significantly boost the adoption of digital payments in the country.

Hota also said that NPCI is evaluating possibilities for integration of UPI for which it is continuously engaging with stakeholders.

“As a first step, we will look at offering our riders the option to use their existing UPI IDs to pay for their Uber rides,” he added.

“As a technology-driven company, we applaud the potential and impact that fin-tech innovations like UPI can make. UPI is the future of Indian payments and we are proud to be a partner in this monumental mission of the government to facilitate a digital payments led society,” a spokesperson for Uber told Mint.