The National Payments Corporation of India has signed an agreement with the state government of Telangana to offer UPI, and RuPay debit and credit cards as payment options for users of the MeeSeva website, which offers various government services. NPCI, which runs the Unified Payments Interface (UPI) and RuPay, is also in the process of enabling a Quick Response (QR) code-enabled payment mechanism as an additional feature on the MeeSeva portal, which will be available both online and offline.

MeeSeva, a government of Telangana initiative, offers government-to-citizen and government-to-business services through its website. According to the website, MeeSeva offers 368 services across various departments including agriculture, Aadhaar, eKYC, healthcare, education, rural development, and social welfare. In a press release, MeeSeva claimed to have crossed 100 million transactions last year.

How widely used are UPI and RuPay cards?

The number of transactions conducted over UPI has soared since it was introduced in 2016. The total number of transactions in May (733.5 million) was around 3.87 times higher than in the same month last year, while the amount transacted (Rs 152,449 crore) was 4.6 times higher. Though there was a 6% drop in the number of transactions between April 2019 and May 2019, the amount transacted went up by 7% over that period.

NPCI data also showed that RuPay Cards recorded 61.01 million transactions at PoS terminals and 50.89 million transactions in e-commerce in May.

Recent initiatives by NPCI

  • NPCI will now onboard small merchants as individuals and not businesses to make the process easier.
  • Earlier this month it said it was working with e-commerce companies including Amazon and Flipkart to enable online payments after delivery.
  • In April, NPCI reduced the fees for small transactions by banks and payment service providers (PSPs).
    • Charges on transactions up to Rs 1,000 were reduced from 25 paise to 10 paise. However, the charge for transactions above Rs 1,000 remained unchanged at 50 paise.
    • It reduced the incentive payments to a flat 10 paise per transaction. Earlier, these were charged at the same rate as normal transactions. Incentive payments are charges banks or PSPs pay NPCI when they credit the user’s bank account with cashbacks.
    • It reduced merchant transaction charges to flat 10 paise plus a 0.04% levy that will be split between the acquiring bank and the issuing bank. Merchant transactions up to Rs 1,000 earlier had 25 paise fee, while those above Rs 1,000 were charged at 50 paise.
  • The same month, NPCI announced it was planning to develop a blockchain solution using open source technology to increase digital transactions. It floated an Express of Interest (EOI) to allow bidders to propose their plans.
  • Last August, NPCI launched UPI 2.0 with additional features such as overdraft facility, one-time mandate, invoice in the box, signed intent and QR codes.
  • And in April last year, it ran a pilot with PhonePe, ToneTag and Ultra Cash to enable proximity payments on UPI.