New Delhi - India's central bank, the Reserve Bank of India, has updated its Master Directions on Prepaid Payment Instruments to enable for foreign nationals, including tourists from the Gulf and non-resident Indians (NRIs) visiting India to access the recently launched Unified Payments Interface (UPI).
The Minister of State for Finance, Dr. Bhagwat Kisanrao Karad, told India's lower House of Parliament, the Lok Sabha, that foreign countries began accepting UPI only last year although it was launched as a pilot project in India in April 2016. Between January and June this year, there have been 51 million UPI transactions, pointing to its growing popularity.
UPI allows customers to make immediate money transfers for their needs through mobile devices round-the-clock on a 24x7 365-days cycle. It increases the ease of travel to and within India for foreign tourists and NRIs.
According to the National Payments Corporation of India, UPI is a system that powers multiple bank accounts into a single mobile application of any participating bank for seamless fund routing and merchant payments.
The Corporation is an initiative of the Reserve Bank and the Indian Banks' Association for operating retail payments and settlement systems in India.
"The Reserve Bank has been facilitating engagements for the expansion of UPI in countries which have potential for collaboration," the Minister told Parliament.
"Further, a provision has been made to provide UPI access to NRIs who have international mobile numbers linked to their non-resident accounts in India," Dr. Karad added.
The National Payments Corporation of India has enabled this facility for four Gulf countries - the UAE, Oman, Qatar and Saudi Arabia -- among a total of 10 countries worldwide.