Amazon is joining hands with ICICI Bank and Axis Bank and several others to create a national payments network that will rival the National Payments Corporation of India's (NPCI) dominance in the retail payments industry in India, the Economic Times reported. The consortium will apply for a New Umbrella Entity license from the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) at the end of this month, to set up an alternative real-time payments system to the NPCI's Unified Payments Interface (UPI). Citing unnamed sources, the report said that Visa India, the National Stock Exchange, BillDesk and Pine Labs will also be part of the consortium led by ICICI and Axis. It said that the consortium is looking to build a UPI-like settlement system for small and medium enterprises, merchants and consumers. The sources said that the aim of the consortium will be to create a faster settlement system that can be scaled up to manage the surge in digital payments. With the government removing the merchant discount rate on UPI transactions last year, private entities want to set up a rival umbrella payments entity which can be profit-making as compared to the current model under the NPCI, the report. While Amazon's UPI service in India processed over 46 million transactions worth Rs 4,044.38 crore in January 2021, ICICI Bank processed 6.22 million transactions worth Rs 1,835 crore and Axis Bank processed 5.23 million transactions worth Rs 560.7 crore, as third-party UPI players. As anchor banks, ICICI Bank processed 152.06 million UPI transactions…
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