UPI goes international: RBI Collaborates with NIPL to Extend UPI to 20 Countries by 2028-29

As per the Payments Vision Document 2025, the RBI is engaging in discussions with the central banks of multiple countries to establish collaborative agreements.

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The Reserve Bank of India (RBI), in collaboration with NPCI International Payments Ltd (NIPL), embarked on an ambitious plan to extend the reach of Unified Payments Interface (UPI) to 20 countries by the financial year 2028-29. This initiative was highlighted in the RBI's annual report, which emphasised the exploration of opportunities to expand the global presence of UPI and RuPay.

Global Expansion Plans for UPI and RuPay

The RBI report outlined a strategic vision for the internationalisation of UPI and RuPay cards as part of the Payments Vision Document 2025. It detailed plans to collaborate with various central banks and international organisations to facilitate cross-border payment systems.

Exploration of Fast Payment System Collaborations

In pursuit of these goals, the RBI expressed intentions to collaborate on Fast Payment System (FPS) initiatives with groups such as the European Union and the South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation (SAARC). Multilateral linkages were also mentioned as potential avenues to enhance payment interoperability across borders.

Key Collaborations and Initiatives

The report highlighted significant collaborations and initiatives undertaken to strengthen cross-border payment infrastructure. In July 2023, the RBI and the Central Bank of the UAE (CBUAE) signed an MoU to interlink their respective payment systems, facilitating cooperation between UPI in India and the Instant Payment Platform (IPP) in UAE known as Aani.

Furthermore, in February 2024, connectivity for RuPay cards and UPI transactions between India and Mauritius was established, enabling seamless digital payments for travellers between the two countries. A similar initiative was undertaken for UPI connectivity between India and Sri Lanka, allowing Indian travellers to make QR code-based payments in Sri Lanka using UPI apps.

Cross-Border Payment Exploration with Nepal

The RBI and Nepal Rastra Bank are currently exploring the linkage of UPI platforms between India and Nepal, aiming to enable cross-border payments. This endeavour was initiated with an MoU signed between NPCI International Payments Ltd. (NIPL) and Nepal Clearing House Ltd. (NCHL) in June 2023.

Global Acceptance of UPI Payments

The report also highlighted the growing acceptance of UPI payments on a global scale. QR code-based UPI payments are already operational for merchant (e-commerce) transactions in France and Nepal, showcasing India's expanding network of payment collaborations with seven countries.

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