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UPI will create opportunities for Indian SMBs: Mark Zuckerberg

Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg noted that digital payments is really important right now. It’s safer than handing someone cash and eliminates the need from standing in line at the bank. (AP)
Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg noted that digital payments is really important right now. It’s safer than handing someone cash and eliminates the need from standing in line at the bank. (AP)

  • Mark Zuckerberg, the founder of Facebook, said making payments easier is a small step that can really help people gain control over their money
  • UPI makes it easy for people to make and receive payments across apps, Zukerberg noted in his message after NPCI gave the green signal to WhatsApp Pay

BENGALURU: Facebook chief Mark Zuckerberg in a video message said that with Unified Payments Interface (UPI), India has created something ‘truly special’, which will open up a world of opportunities for micro and small businesses that are the backbone of the Indian economy.

In a blogspot, WhatsApp said that payments on its platform will be available in 10 regional languages, as it partners with 5 Indian banks—ICICI Bank, HDFC Bank, Axis Bank, the State Bank of India, and Jio Payments Bank, to launch this service in India.

On Thursday, National Payments Corporation of India (NPCI), which operates the UPI infrastructure in the country, gave a nod for WhatsApp to launch its payments service in a ‘graded’ manner. On Friday, the founder of global social media behemoth Facebook added that he was excited about the launch of this service in India.

“Digital payments is really important right now. It’s safer than handing someone cash and eliminates the need from standing in line at the bank. We’ve been working on this with the National Payments Corporation of India, who oversee everything to make sure it’s secure and reliable. And we’ve built it using India’s Unified Payments Interface, which makes it easy for anyone to instantly accept payments across different apps—and for companies to provide people with great services," said Zuckerberg.

Facebook-owned WhatsApp has been running its UPI-based payment system, WhatsApp Pay in Beta since 2018, with 1 million users. One of the biggest hurdles for the platform, continued to be the Reserve Bank of India’s (RBI) data localisation norms for payment providers in the country, which the company had to comply with.

“Now you can send money to your friends and family through WhatsApp as easily as sending a message [...] When people can access financial tools, they’re more empowered to support themselves and others, or start a business. Long term, we need more innovation that gives people control over their money, and making payments easier is a small step that can really help," said Zuckerberg.

On Thursday evening, NPCI said that it has given the much-awaited approval to Whatsapp Pay, allowing the service to launch in a graded manner starting with a maximum registered user base of 20 million in UPI.

Simultaneously, the retail payments organisation also announced a cap of 30% on transaction volume clocked by a player starting 2021. This 30cap will be calculated on the total volume of transactions processed in UPI during the preceding three months.

The existing player or third party app providers (TPAPs) exceeding the specified cap, will have a period of two years from January 2021, to comply with the same in a phased manner.

Mint was the first to report about the NPCI decision on capping the share of UPI players, in its July 30 edition.

According to NPCI, the decision has been taken in line to address the risks and protect the UPI ecosystem from frauds as it scales further.

Currently, Google’s GPay and Flipkart-owned PhonePe command a total of 83% market share, followed by Paytm and Amazon Pay.

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