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Google, Facebook and Amazon looking at NUE license: Report

payments, digital payments

Google, Facebook, and Amazon are looking to tie up with domestic companies to apply for a New Umbrella Entity license for retail payments with the Reserve Bank of India, the Economic Times reported. While each of these global tech giants have a payments service, on the Unified Payments Interface, a NUE license will give them the opportunity to develop new payments platforms.

In August this year the RBI released its NUE framework, which will allow the NUE to be a profit-making entity. The NUE will be  a competitor to the National Payments Corporation of India (NPCI) setting up and operating new payment systems for ATM networks, point-of-sale device, Aadhaar-based payments and remittances. Between April to September this year, the NPCI’s 10 platforms processed over 1,525 crore transactions worth nearly ₹66.86 lakh crore.

While Google has a standalone UPI app called Google Pay, Amazon has integrated UPI payments within its e-commerce website and Facebook, through WhatsApp, is now looking to roll out its UPI payments service within the messaging app in a graded manner.

Reliance Jio emerging as a clear favourite, the report said citing unnamed sources. They added that the three global entities are seriously exploring a joint-venture partnership with domestic firms, each of whom are looking at picking up a 15-20% equity stake. While the regulator is unlikely to issue more than two licenses, a second unnamed source said that it will be interesting to see whether the RBI will take issue with applicants where foreign companies are involved.

So far several banks and the Tata Group have intimated their interest to setup an NUE in addition to a consortium of payment companies or fintechs. Further, Reliance Jio, the Bombay Stock Exchange, the National Stock Exchange, Paytm and Infibeam are also eyeing the opportunity to create their own retail payments umbrella organisation under RBI’s framework, the Economic Times had reported earlier.

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