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Tata working on own payment network to rival NPCI: Report

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Tata is looking to build its own payment network, the Economic Times reported. The conglomerate is reportedly in talks with the Reserve Bank of India to set up a retail payments network under the latter’s framework for pan-Indian Umbrella Entities (NUEs). Tata Capital and Tata Consultancy Services are reported to be involved in the payment network effort.

The National Payment Corporation of India, which was set up on similar lines, is a non-profit, but not a government body. Rivals to its dominance can therefore exist, such as Visa or MasterCard’s payment network. But the fact that virtually every bank is an NPCI member, and supports its UPI and IMPS payment systems, makes it difficult to challenge. But Tata’s scale, and its position as one of the biggest technology companies in the world, gives it an advantage in pursuing that prospect, if that is its goal. We have reached out to the conglomerate for comment.

Tata operates India’s only tier-1 internet service provider, Tata Communications, and as such has the infrastructure to support such a network, along with its own data centre infrastructure. Few other companies have been reported to be pursuing the idea of an NPCI rival, likely due to the high capital requirements involved — Reliance Industries and the State Bank of India are among the only ones reportedly considering it.

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