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Expansion of India UPI accessibility

India is expanding the accessibility of its digital payment system, Unified Payments Interface (UPI), globally. The UPI system has been embraced by various countries, including France, UAE, Saudi Arabia, Bahrain, Singapore, Maldives, Bhutan, and Oman, and India has recently signed memoranda of understanding with 13 other countries for the adoption of UPI interface. 

Digital Payment System

Additionally, India has announced that NRIs in 10 foreign countries with Indian bank accounts linked to foreign mobile numbers, as well as foreign travellers coming to India, will have access to UPI at select international airports. These measures are expected to enable seamless cross-border transactions, lower the cost of fund transfers, and facilitate remittance payments.

Meaning of UPI

UPI stands for "Unified Payments Interface." It is a real-time payment system which enables instant and secure interbank transactions through mobile devices using mobile numbers or virtual payment addresses. 

UPI allows users to link multiple bank accounts to a single mobile application and perform various types of transactions, including money transfers, bill payments, and online shopping, without the need to provide sensitive banking details for each transaction.

How does UPI work?

UPI, or the Unified Payments Interface, is a fast and secure way to transfer money between bank accounts in India. To use UPI, you first need to download a UPI-enabled app from your bank or a third-party provider. Once you have the app, you can link your bank account and create a virtual payment address, or VPA. Your VPA acts as a unique identifier for your bank account and allows you to receive money from other UPI users. 

To send money, you simply enter the recipient's VPA or bank account number and the amount you wish to send. The transaction is then verified using a one-time password or PIN, and the money is transferred instantly. UPI is a convenient and hassle-free way to make payments, and it is widely accepted by merchants and businesses across India.

UPI payments available for G20 travellers

Foreign travellers from G20 nations can take advantage of UPI payments for their retail transactions in India. The Reserve Bank of the country recently announced its proposal to allow inbound travellers to use UPI for peer-to-merchant transactions. 

Initially, this facility will be available to travellers from G20 countries arriving at selected international airports. The central bank stated that this facility will soon be enabled across all other entry points in the country, with the necessary operational instructions to be issued shortly.

UPI Payments

International UPI Transactions for NRE/NRO Accountholders

Non-resident account holders (NRE/NRO accounts) from 10 specific countries can now enrol on UPI platforms as per a circular issued by the NPCI. However, they must meetcertain conditions and possess international mobile numbers. 

This initiative is particularly beneficial for NRIs in designated countries, international students, families residing abroad, and local businesses. Partner banks must ensure that the NRE/NRO accounts adhere to FEMA regulations and follow RBI guidelines. They are also required to implement measures to prevent money laundering and terror financing. Compliance with NPCI directives is mandatory for partner banks by April 30, 2023.

  • Countries that Support Mobile UPI Transactions


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Hong Kong








Saudi Arabia




United Kingdom


India's UPI Transactions Show Impressive Growth

The growth of UPI (Unified Payments Interface) adoption in India has been substantial since its introduction in 2016. Key data points and trends highlight the significant impact UPI has had on the digital payments landscape in the country:

  • Online Transaction Volume and Value

During the second quarter of the FY 2022, India recorded a staggering 20.57 billion online transactions, collectively amounting to INR 36.08 trillion. These transactions encompassed a variety of payment methods, including debit and credit cards, mobile wallets, prepaid cards, and UPI. Notably, UPI included both person-to-merchant (P2M) and person-to-person (P2P) transactions.

  • UPI Dominance in Non-Cash Transactions

The Reserve Bank of India (RBI) data underscores UPI's prominence, revealing that UPI transactions for FY 2022-23 reached an impressive INR 139.2 trillion. This accounted for approximately 73 percent of all non-cash transactions conducted within India in the year 2022.

  • Projected Growth

Insights from a PwC report indicate a promising trajectory for UPI. It is projected that daily UPI transactions will attain a remarkable milestone, reaching 1 billion transactions by FY 2026-27. This projection implies that UPI transactions are anticipated to constitute approximately 90 percent of all non-cash transactions in India.

  • Monthly Performance

In April 2023, UPI transactions displayed remarkable growth, recording INR 8.9 billion transactions with a cumulative transaction value of INR 14.07 trillion. This showcased a remarkable 59 percent increase in UPI transactions compared to April 2022. 

  • Annual UPI Transactions

Data released by the National Payments Corporation of India (NPCI) highlights that in the calendar year 2022, India witnessed around 74 billionUPI transactions amounting to INR 125.94 trillion. These statistics signify a remarkable surge, with transactions increasing by nearly 90 percent compared to the previous year. 

  • Record-Breaking Month

December 2022 marked a historic moment, witnessing a record-breaking 7.82 billion UPI transactions, collectively amounting to INR 12.82 trillion. This remarkable performance underscores the widespread acceptance and usage of UPI across various segments of society.

In conclusion, UPI has become a transformative force in India's digital payments landscape, witnessing substantial growth and driving a significant shift towards cashless transactions. Its increasing popularity, adoption, and projected future trends indicate that UPI's influence will continue to reshape the way the country conducts financial transactions.

India Digital Payments


What are digital payment systems like UPI?

Digital payment systems like UPI (Unified Payments Interface) are electronic platforms that enable users to make real-time payments and transactions directly from their bank accounts using smartphones or computers. UPI has gained popularity due to its convenience and ease of use.

How do digital payment systems work?

Digital payment systems allow users to link their bank accounts to their smartphones or devices. They can then initiate transactions, pay bills, transfer funds, and make purchases online or offline through QR codes, mobile numbers, or virtual payment addresses.

Why are digital payment systems important for foreign tourists?

Digital payment systems eliminate the need for foreign tourists to carry large amounts of cash while travelling. They offer a secure and convenient way for tourists to make payments, whether it's for shopping, dining, transportation, or other expenses.

Are digital payment systems widely accepted in India?

Yes, digital payment systems like UPI and card payments are widely accepted in India. These payment methods are supported by a vast network of merchants, shops, restaurants, hotels, and transportation services across the country.

What are the benefits of using digital payment systems for foreign tourists?

Using digital payment systems offers several benefits to foreign tourists, including reduced risk of theft, the convenience of not needing to exchange currency, transparency in transactions, and the ability to track expenses digitally.

Are foreign credit and debit cards accepted in India?

Yes, many establishments in India accept foreign credit and debit cards, especially in urban and tourist areas. However, it's advisable to inform your bank about your travel plans to ensure your card will work internationally without any issues.