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In a first, the National Payments Corporation of India (NPCI) on Thursday announced that the neighboring country of Nepal will be the first foreign country to adopt India's UPI system, paving the way for transforming the digital economy of the country.

The international arm of NPCI, NPCI International Payments Ltd (NIPL) has joined hands with Gateway Payments Service (GPS) and Manam Infotech to provide the services in Nepal.

NPCI said in a statement, "Nepal shall be the first country outside of India to adopt UPI as the payments platform driving the digitalization of cash transactions and furthering the vision and objectives of the Nepal Government and Nepal Rastra Bank as the Central bank."

Gateway Payments Service is the authorised payment system operator in Nepal and Manam Infotech will deploy Unified Payments Interface (UPI) in that country.

The NPCI statement noted that this collaboration is expected to serve the larger digital public good in Nepal and bolster interoperable real-time person-to-person (P2P) and person-to-merchant (P2M) transactions in the neighbouring country.

Further, it is likely to enable the last-mile consumers in Nepal to reap the benefits of an open interoperable payments system driving immediate payment transfers between bank accounts and merchant payments in real-time.

Rajesh Prasad Manandhar, CEO of GPS said the move allows the way forward for real-time cross-border P2P remittances between Nepal and India and UPI service has created a significant positive impact in India in terms of the country's digital payment transformation, .

As UPI enabled 3,900 crore financial transactions valuing USD 940 billion, which is equivalent to approximately 31% of India's GDP, Manandhar said, "we expect UPI in Nepal would play a pivotal role in transforming the digital economy of the country and dreams of building a less-cash society."

Ritesh Shukla, CEO of NIPL said, "at NIPL, we are committed to transforming payments by taking our robust payments solutions to global markets and collaborating with local payment system operators. We are confident that this initiative will stand as a testimony to NIPL's technological capabilities and vision of scaling our unique offerings globally."

UPI's real-time payment infrastructure will help catalyze the process of financial inclusion in Nepal and will also create more opportunities for businesses, NPCI said. It will help modernize Nepal's digital payment infrastructure and bring the convenience of digital payments to citizens of Nepal.

Naga Babu Ramineni, Director of Manam said, "Manam has always been part of major digital transformation across the various regions of the world, we believe this partnership will eliminate all the barriers of payment transformation within Nepal and across the border thereby transforming the regional economy."

UPI is amongst the most successful real-time payments (RTP) systems globally, providing – simplicity, safety, and security in P2P and P2M transactions in India. Nepal has a population of about 30 million (3 crore) with around 45% banked. Mobile penetration of over 135% with 65% of the population using smartphones provides a bedrock for seamless replication of the digital revolution in India to be replicated in Nepal, NPCI said.

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