Indian Economy News

Alternative to SWIFT: NPCI plans to take the UPI system to 32 million NRIs

National Payments Corporation of India (NPCI), the company that built India’s digital payments backbone, plans to make it less expensive and simpler for the 32 million Indians who live abroad to send money back home.

Indians living overseas remitted US$ 87 billion in 2021, the biggest inflow for any country tracked by the World Bank. According to Mr. Ritesh Shukla, CEO, NPCI International Payments Ltd., the remittances market, where it costs US$ 13 on an average to send US$ 200 across borders, is ripe for disruption.

Successful overseas forays by NPCI would give India a home-grown alternative to SWIFT, the Belgium-based cross-border payment system operator.

About 330 banks and 25 apps including Alphabet Inc.’s Google Pay and Meta Platform Inc.’s WhatsApp, share NPCI’s unified payment interface, which has helped make instantaneous digital transactions a US$ 3 trillion market in India.

The Reserve Bank of India (RBI) established NPCI in order to facilitate quicker, easier, and more affordable retail payments. In order to rapidly transact with vendors and send money between friends or family, a user only requires a virtual payment address.

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