Unified Payments Interface

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Unified Payments Interface
UPI logo
Product typeinstant real-time inter-bank payment system
OwnerNational Payments Corporation of India
Introduced11 April 2016; 5 years ago (2016-04-11)

Unified Payments Interface (UPI) is an instant real-time payment system developed by National Payments Corporation of India facilitating inter-bank transactions. The interface is regulated by the Reserve Bank of India and works by instantly transferring funds between two bank accounts on a mobile platform. As of December 2020, there are 207 banks available on UPI with a monthly volume of 2334.16 million transactions[1] and a value of 4,161.762 billion (US$58 billion) UPI witnessed 2,210.23 crore transactions till November 2020. The mobile-only payment system helped transact a total of 17.29 lakh crore (US$240 billion) during the 37 months of operation starting from 2016.[2] As of May 2021, the platform has 100 million monthly active users in India with plans to achieve 500 million by 2025. IIT Madras is also working to integrate voice command feature that can support English and Indian vernacular language in future.[3]


In April 2009 with the objective to integrate all the payment mechanism available in the country and make it uniform for retail payments, National Payment Corporation of India (NPCI) was formed. By March 2011, RBI found out that in India only six non cash transactions happens every year per individual citizen while 10 million retailers accept card based payment. Around 145 million families have no access to any form of banking. There is also the problem to tackle black money and corruption that happens mostly in cash.[4]

RBI in 2012 released a vision statement for a period of four years that indicated commitment towards building a safe, efficient, accessible, inclusive, interoperable and authorized payment and settlement system in India. It is part of the Green Initiative to decrease the usage of paper in domestic payments market.[5]

Under RBI guidance, NPCI became the primary body with the task to develop a new payment system that is simple, secure and interoperable. As per CEO of Netmagic Solutions, UPI became one of the most successful deep tech innovation coming out of India.[4]


Unified Payments Interface is a real time payment system that allows sending or requesting money from one bank account to another. Any UPI client app may be used and multiple bank accounts may be linked to single app. Money can be sent or requested with the following methods:

  • Virtual Payment Address (VPA) or UPI ID: Send or request money from/to bank account mapped using VPA.
  • Mobile number: Send or request money from/to the bank account mapped using mobile number.
  • Account number & IFSC: Send money to the bank account.
  • Aadhaar: Send money to the bank account mapped using Aadhaar number.
  • QR code: Send money by QR code which has enclosed VPA, Account number and IFSC or Mobile number.

Mobile apps[edit]

Any UPI app can use payment and transfer fund from and to UPI enabled banks.

Below is a list of some popular UPI mobile applications.[6]

Airtel Thanks Airtel Payments Bank
Amazon Pay Axis Bank
CRED Axis Bank
Google Pay Axis Bank
State Bank of India
Mi-Pay ICICI Bank
MobiKwik HDFC Bank
Jio Pay Jio Payments Bank
PhonePe Yes Bank
ICICI Bank (axis bank)
Paytm Paytm Payments Bank
Samsung Pay Axis Bank
WhatsApp Pay[8] ICICI Bank
Axis Bank
State Bank of India
Jio Payments Bank

UPI 2.0[edit]

On 16 August 2018, UPI 2.0 was launched which enabled users to link their Overdraft accounts to a UPI handle. Users were also able to pre-authorise transactions by issuing a mandate for specific merchant. 2.0 version included a feature to view and store the invoice for the transactions. There's also an added feature of AutoPay facility for recurring payments.[9][10][11]

Supported banks[edit]

The website of National Payments Corporation of India (NPCI) lists the banks that facilitate UPI.[12] Banks here are termed as Payment Service Providers (PSP) - listed with their UPI application and handle - and issuers.[12] PSP includes those banks which have their own mobile application to facilitate transaction and issuers include banks which don't have their payments interface and rely on third party software for transaction using UPI.


There are talks happening to operate UPI in United Arab Emirates and Singapore which has sizeable Indian expatriates and for ease of payment for Indian tourists travelling abroad. Committee on digital payments led by Nandan Nilekani had suggested that NPCI should internationalise payment services like UPI, RuPay and BHIM.[13] NPCI is planning to link UPI with standalone mobile wallets so that users can transfer money from one provider to another one which till now is restricted due to use of closed source technology. There is also provision for off-line UPI payment through the use of near field communication (NFC).[14]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "What is UPI".
  2. ^ Vinayak, A. J. "UPI completes 1,000 cr transactions". @businessline. Retrieved 5 September 2019.
  3. ^ "IIT Madras Working on Voice-based Contact-less Payment Services Which Recognises Local Indian Languages". News18. 17 May 2021. Retrieved 17 May 2021.
  4. ^ a b Datta, Dhriti (13 September 2019). "The origins of UPI: Road to a cashless society | Digit". digit.in. Retrieved 19 May 2021.
  5. ^ "Payment Systems in India: Vision 2012-15". Reserve Bank of India. 1 October 2012. Retrieved 19 May 2021.
  6. ^ UPI 3rd Party Apps NPCI
  7. ^ Terms & Conditions BHIM UPI
  8. ^ Sen, Meghna (6 November 2020). "WhatsApp Pay now live in India: Link these 5 bank accounts to use service". mint. Retrieved 12 November 2020.
  9. ^ "Experience Simplicity, Security & Seamlessness at the next level. | BHIM". www.bhimupi.org.in. Retrieved 14 December 2018.
  10. ^ "NPCI introduces UPI AutoPay facility for recurring payment | NPCI" (PDF). www.npci.org.in. Retrieved 22 July 2020.
  11. ^ Bureau, Our. "NPCI launches UPI 2.0 with overdraft facility". @businessline. Retrieved 14 December 2018.
  12. ^ a b "UPI Live Members". NPCI. 2 November 2018. Retrieved 15 November 2018.
  13. ^ "UPI payments to soon be available in UAE, Singapore". www.businesstoday.in. Retrieved 24 October 2019.
  14. ^ Bhasin, Tinesh (9 August 2020). "UPI set to be more convenient, facilitate more interoperability". Livemint. Retrieved 10 August 2020.