By Zaheer Merchant and Nikhil Pahwa Kotak Mahindra Bank will begin charging customers for peer-to-peer Unified Payments Interface (UPI) transactions from May 1, becoming the first bank to do so, the Times of India reported. According to the report: From May, Kotak Mahindra Bank customers will be able to make 30 free P2P transfers each month using UPI. After this the bank will charge Rs 2.50 per transaction for transfers of Rs 1,000 or less, and Rs 5 plus 18% GST for transfers of more than Rs 1,000. Rohit Rao, chief communication officer, Kotak Mahindra Group, told the Hindu, “More than 95% of our customers do an average of 5-10 UPI transactions a month. [The new charge] is intended to prevent abuse of the UPI system and will not impact genuine customers. Receiving money through UPI as well as all merchant transactions continue to be free.” The Hindu also said other banks such as ICICI, HDFC and SBI were likely to follow suit, according to banking industry sources. In all 142 banks currently offer UPI payments. Data released by NPCI revealed that almost 80 crore UPI transactions were carried out in March. The total value of these transactions was Rs 1.33 lakh crore, almost 24% higher than in February, when 67.4 crore transactions valued at Rs 1.07 lakh crore were carried out. The average transaction value rose to almost Rs 1,700 in March after hovering between Rs 1,500 and Rs 1,600 from December 2018 to February 2019. MediaNama's take Nikhil…
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