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ICICI Bank’s virtual addresses on UPI increase by 36% QoQ to 21 million

ICICI Bank has 21 million virtual payment addresses (VPAs), which were generated on its mobile applications at the end of the quarter ended September 30, 2018 (Q2FY19). This is an increase of 5.6 million VPAs over last quarter, a percentage increase of 36%. The VPAs were created through iMobile (ICICI’s mobile banking app), Pockets wallet (open to non-bank customers as well), and other partner platforms like Google Pay (earlier Tez) and Truecaller’s UPI product Truecaller Pay.

The bank did not disclose the number of merchants it acquired over its mobile payments application EazyPay in this quarter or the last. The last available number is for Q3FY18, when the bank said that it acquired 158,000 merchants through EazyPay.

ICICI does not give information about the number of transactions it processes or the value of the transactions. It is also unclear how many VPAs are active at the moment. However, the number of merchants it acquires is significant as banks are allowed to charge merchants a higher fee than than P2P payments on the Unified Payment Interface (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.

In this context, it is worth noting that UPI saw an increase of 32% in the total transaction volumes between July-August 2018.

  • UPI transactions have been growing since launch, except in May and July; the number of transactions declined for the first time in May 2018.
  • In July, the government withdrew multiple incentives for both merchants and customers alike for making UPI transactions.
  • Further, the National Payments Corporation of India (NPCI) had asked banks to discontinue Aadhaar-based payments (AePS) through the UPI and Immediate Payment System (IMPS) channels from August 31st, 2018.
  • In any case, the UIDAI has said that AePS will continue as it is Direct Benefit Transfer (DBT), for which the SC judgment allows Aadhaar use. The impact of this remains to be seen.

Digital

Its various digital channels, such as the Internet, mobile banking, and POS, including touch banking, phone banking and debit card transactions at e-commerce platforms, together accounted for 80% of all the savings account transactions in the six months of FY2019, not solely in this quarter.

Cards

Debit card transaction volumes increased by 23% to 11.4 crore transactions in Q2FY19 as compared to the corresponding quarter last year. Total transaction value of debit cards for the quarter stood at Rs 16,350 crore, up by 26% YoY.

Credit card transactions volume increased by 28% to 5.8 crore transactions as compared to Q2FY18. Transaction value of credit cards for the quarter stood at Rs 15,870 crore.

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