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UPI transactions for March grow 47% month-on-month at 6.2 million

Unified Payments Interface (UPI) transactions in the month of March 2017 stood at 6.2 million and the value of these transactions were Rs 2,390 crore, Reserve Bank of India data showed. This was a month-0n-month growth of 47.62% from 4.2 million transactions in February. The value of transactions stood at Rs 1,900 crore in February.

However, there seems to be some discrepancy in the data the RBI shows. Dilip Asbe, COO of National Payments Corporation of India (NPCI) tweeted that the UPI saw 6.1 million transactions and the value of these transactions stood at Rs 2,500 crore.

The UPI went live in August 2016 and got a huge fillip following the demonetization of Rs 500 and Rs 1,000 notes by Prime Minister Narendra Modi in November 2016. Transactions stood at 0.3 million with a value of Rs 90 crore in November 2016.

Recently, the NPCI has changed the fee structure for merchants, as indicated by this Economic Times report. “Under UPI, the merchant discount rate (MDR) — the fee borne by the seller to provide services—is 0.25% for payments below Rs 1,000 and 0.65% for all other charges,” said AP Hota, MD & CEO, NPCI. Earlier, the NPCI said it would charge a similar interchange fee to the MDR on debit cards.

It’s important to remember that banks are allowed to charge merchants a higher fee compared to P2P payments. The NPCI said it was more interested in bank partnerships with merchants rather than P2P transfers. “We’ve made the UPI live on the P2P side, however, it holds great potential on the P2M side … P2P transactions are not that frequent from a consumer standpoint. It happens once or twice in a month,” Asbe said in an earlier press conference.

That said, The Ken reported the “WhatsApp moment for payments” is finally coming to WhatsApp. The Facebook-owned messaging service is working to launch person-to-person payments on its platform within the next six months, the publication added.

Issues on UPI 

However, the new payments infrastructure has not been without problems. Here are some of the issues which cropped up:

– In January, PhonePe, a Flipkart-owned YES Bank application, which allows money transfer and payments using the UPI, has said that the company saw around 20,000 transactions with total value of over Rs 5 crore failing because ICICI Bank blocked its customers from using the PhonePe.

– Structural issues still remain and many UPI transactions on the platform are failing and customers have not been able to get refunds to their bank accounts. The problem is exacerbated by the fact that there is no API for refunds from banks at the moment.

– Meanwhile, Bank of Maharashtra reported a loss of Rs 25 crore in March as frauds exploited a bug in their UPI application and core banking software. 

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