The National Payments Corporation of India (NPCI) announced that it’s ambitious payments architecture the Unified Payments Interface is now live for customers with 21 banks launching their apps on the Google Play Store.

The NPCI added that RBL Bank and IDBI Bank have been on boarded as issuers  which enables their customers to download any UPI enabled-apps mentioned above and link their account. The list of banks who have a UPI-enabled mobile app on the play store:

  • Andhra Bank
  •  Axis Bank
  • Bank of Maharashtra
  • Bhartiya Mahila Bank
  • Canara Bank
  • Catholic Syrian Bank
  • DCB Bank
  • Federal Bank
  • ICICI Bank
  • TJSB Sahakari Bank
  • Oriental Bank of Commerce
  • Karnataka Bank
  • UCO Bank
  • Union Bank of India
  • United Bank of India
  • Punjab National Bank
  • South Indian Bank
  • Vijaya Bank
  • YES Bank.

UPI is a payments architecture that will allow users to make a transaction without divulging their account details via aliases (such as shashidhar@hdfcbank) and make pull-based payments. The payments architecture was built upon the IMPS mobile payments system which let customers to transfer money across different banks with the use of a single identification and password. Through this, multiple bank accounts can be be linked to a single mobile banking application and money can be both received and requested through the same interface. More on that here.

Wallets not on the UPI

The draft paper on the UPI also said that it would provide interoperability between different payment systems including mobile wallets. However, AP Hota, CEO of the NPCI, said that wallets were not allowed to be a part of the UPI as banks needed time to catch up to them in terms of services. However, they could sign on with banks as merchants.

Last month, FreeCharge and Axis Bank  partnered to allow its users to make payments through the Unified Payments Interface (UPI). Through this, FreeCharge users will be allowed to load money into their wallets through the UPI option which will be powered by Axis Bank’s SDK.

Many people had reported during the launch that wallets’ business would be hit with the UPI’s launch as it would effectively turn a bank account into wallet. However, others argue that it depends on what kind of wallet is being run. If a wallet has a pure digital play, then it would be affected. Wallets which look to convert cash to digital and look at remittance services would not see such a threat.

Read more: How the Unified Payments Interface will (actually) affect digital wallets

Impact on payment gateways

Payment gateways currently have to maintain an individual relationship with each bank to route and settle payments. With the UPI, it would eliminate this. “So the UPI is a boon for payment gateways. Right now, we as a payment gateway are a facilitator for payments for merchants. Our relationship with the merchant is to help them with different payments instruments,” Harshil Mathur, CEO of RazorPay told MediaNama.

Netbanking and domestic card usage is also set to decline with the UPI taking root.

Read more: How the Unified Payments Interface will affect payment gateways