Google and Walmart dominate India’s UPI digital payment network

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Google Pay and Walmart’s PhonePe dominate the digital payment space in India. The digital sector in India is built on the country’s United Payments Interface (UPI). UPI is a shared payment infrastructure started by the state and it has 200 Indian banks joined in it. Google Pay accounts for 45% of the total volume of UPI transactions, of which PhonePe occupies the second-largest position, accounting for 41% of PhonePe as of November; the statistics were released by UPI’s governing body, the National Payments Corporation of India (NPCI).

United Payments Interface (UPI) was developed by the National Payments Corporation of India (NPCI) and regulated by the Indian central bank in 2016; the network had 2 billion transactions last month, which is more than the number of transactions in November 2019. In November, there were 1.2 billion transactions. As per the data collected by the central bank, the total number of digital payment transactions in India during the current financial year is approximately 34 billion.

Other companies on the list of payment services used by the UPI network include Paytm Payment Bank, Amazon Pay, and WhatsApp Pay. Even if other prominent names in the field are included, their growth is still in a slow phase. Facebook’s WhatsApp was approved in June to launch payment services in India. The permission was granted only after a two-year-long testing phase, but they have only managed to capture only about 0.31% of the market share so far.  

The United Payments Interface (UPI) based digital payments system is dominated by the top three platforms and they account for more than 93% of the transactional volume. This data predicted the chance for market dominance. NPCI, as an apparent move to counter such market dominance, decided so that a single app would only be allowed to account for over 30% of UPI transactions on a rolling basis. Even though the new decision was announced in November 2020, the cap is supposed to go into effect starting January 2021, but the local reports indicate that there is a need for more clarity on how the NPCI plans to enforce it.

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