Amazon India seems to have quietly added a UPI based payments option for customers who are making purchases on the website. The development was spotted by members of the r/india subreddit who also noticed that Amazon is using an @apl virtual payments address for collecting payments. Medianama was able to verify the existence of the same as the UPI payment option pops up during the checkout process.
The e-commerce giant’s silent launch of UPI is an interesting development as it becomes the first major entity to use UPI for only collecting payments. At the time of check out customers can select UPI as a payment option. After doing so the user will be asked to enter their existing VPA which will take a couple of seconds to verify. Upon successful verification, the customer is taken to the corresponding UPI ID-linked mobile app to complete the payment. The payment request from Amazon is made by its own unique VPA @apl unlike existing UPI based services by non-banking entities (Tez and Whatsapp for example).
Currently, the UPI payment method is available for transactions less than Rs 10,000 and is only accessible on Amazon’s mobile app. We tried to make the same purchase on the desktop but the UPI option was not available. Note that even if Amazon allows UPI integration on it’s desktop site the user will still have to finalise the payment via the UPI app on their mobile phone.
At that time a company spokesperson told MediaNama that they were “watching UPI technology very closely. We are studying customer UX and tracking platform stability and success rates which will be critical in delivering a great payment experience through UPI. Currently, we are looking into the initial market feedback on UPI payment method. We are also studying UPI network stability, transaction failures rates and other customer experience issues.”
The spokesperson had also added that they “have started engaging with several players in the UPI ecosystem to build our UPI plans and potential partnership opportunities. Before we enable UPI on Amazon, we are working towards building a product that provides a great customer experience.“
Amazon Pay and PhonePe
Note that Amazon India’s primary competitor, Flipkart had started supporting UPI payments natively on its app via its payments arm PhonePe, in January 2017. Before that, Flipkart customers had to install the PhonePe app in order to pay for purchases on Flipkart using the UPI option. At the time, transactions were limited to Rs 1 lakh per day for each linked bank account within PhonePe.
In October 2017, the company had infused an additional Rs 260 crore into its the digital wallet service Amazon Pay. Previously, it had invested Rs 130 crore into Amazon Pay in July, and had infused Rs 67 crore in May 2017. In October, Amazon Pay also increased its share capital by five times from Rs 400 crore to Rs 2000 crore. The authorised share capital is the number of stock units that a company can issue and is often not fully utilised by it in order to leave room for future issuance of additional stock in case the company needs to raise capital quickly.