The Unified Payment Interface (UPI) saw its first ever decline in number of transactions, albeit on a marginal basis, in May 2018, according to data published by the National Payments Corporation of India (NPCI). Transactions declined marginally to 189.5 million, down 0.31% from 190.1 million in April, but it’s worth noting that the growth in the previous month was 6.73%. Given the hockey-stick growth that UPI has had in the past, not-growing is by itself a significant development.

Did someone stop giving cashbacks?

The NPCI is a private company owned by Indian banks, and owns and operates payments systems such as UPI and IMPS.

The total number of transactions in May 2018 were around 20 times higher than in the same month last year. The amount transacted increased by 23% to Rs 33,288.5 crores over April 2018. The amount transacted in May 2018 was 12 times higher than in the corresponding month last year.

Some observations:

1. UPI transactions have been growing since launch, apart from this instance. Growth has typically been driven by new launches and cashbacks: Google Tez launched on September 18, 2017, gave cashbacks, and had reported 140 million transactions for the month of October and November since launch, apart from 12 million users.

2. Decline on a per-day average basis: If you look at UPI transactions on a per day basis for each month, there has been a continuous increase, except this month. In total, there was a decline in February 2017, but that was because February had fewer dates.

3. The number of transactions declined by 0.6 million in May 2018 whereas the total amount transacted increased by Rs 6,266.7 crores. In April 2018, volume had increased by 12 million and amount transacted had grown by Rs 2,849 crores. If you look at the chart below, growth in number of transactions seems to be trending down.

3. The average amount per transaction rose to Rs 1,757 for May 2018. It has been trending up, with an increase in the amount transacted. It has remained above of Rs 900 mark.

4. The number of banks on UPI increased to 101 in May 2018.