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The number of Unified Payments Interface (UPI)-based payments hit a new milestone with 207 crore transactions in October, according to the data. Such transactions were worth 3.3 lakh crore, according to the National Payments Corporation of India (NPCI). As many as 189 banks are live on the UPI platform. The platform witnessed 180 crore transactions worth 3.29 lakh crore in September, official data showed.

“BHIM UPI has managed to change the face of person-to-person and person-to-merchant money transfers in the past few years while making them safer and more secure," NPCI said in a tweet on Sunday. Introduced in 2008, NPCI is an an umbrella organisation for operating retail payments and settlement systems in India.

UPI transaction had touched the 100 crore-mark in October last year when 114.83 crore transactions took place on the platform.

The smartphone-based digital payment platform, has grown in volume every month since its launch in 2017 barring the April-May period during nationwide lockdown. However, it witnessed a sharp recovery June onwards. It took just six months for UPI transactions to double from a low of 99.95 lakh in April this year.

A nationwide lockdown in the wake of coronavirus outbreak also pushed the digital transactions in the country. Older age groups have also started relying on UPI bases transactions for regular needs. "Reportedly, 80% of older consumers were showing signs of adopting digital payments in the months following the initial lockdown. For many users, the lockdown has presented the first point of engagement with digital payments," Nityanand Sharma, CEO & co-founder, Simpl Technologies said. "Once they started transacting they have realized the speed and convenience of the digital transactions." said Anil Pinapala, CEO, Vivifi Finance India Private Ltd.

"Digital transactions were already on the rise but the lockdown imposed during the pandemic provided a thrust and the value of these transactions crossed the 200 crore-mark," Pranjal Kamra, chief executive officer, Finology said.

The immense popularity of UPI-based payments can be attributed to 'safety norms' of the platforms, Kamra pointed out."Even the RBI had advised to resort to digital payment due to the threat of coronavirus spreading through physical exchange of currency. This resulted in businesses accepting mostly prepaid orders and in turn rise in digital transactions," he added.

"On the other hand, people would also have gotten the hang of it. After being able to conveniently pay utility bills and even receive cashback at times, people might now be preferring to transact digitally. So, their habit may have played an important role in this thrust," he further mentioned.

On future of UPI transactions in the country, Bala Parthasarathy,CEO and co-founder, MoneyTap said, "It will continue to grow as the economy rebounds. There will be a further push for contactless payments instead of cash exchanging hands, due to possible concerns about the virus."

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