India’s flagship digital payment platform, Unified Payments Interface (UPI), has started the current financial year (FY23) on a cheerful note, with 5.58 billion transactions amounting to Rs 9.83 trillion processed in April. Since the payment platform’s inception, both volume and value of transactions have reached a record high. For the first time ever, UPI surpassed 5 billion transactions in a month last month.
A 3.33 percent increase in volume and a 2.36 percent increase in value of transactions were seen compared with March. In March, UPI processed 9.6 trillion rupees in 5.4 billion transactions.
However, on a year-over-year (YoY) basis, the volume of transactions increased by 111 percent, and the value of transactions almost doubled. In April 2021, UPI had processed 2.64 billion transactions worth Rs 4.93 trillion. Due to the second wave of the pandemic in FY22, transactions had initially dipped. In contrast, UPI transactions have been on an upward trajectory since then, reflecting the recovery of the broader economy.
In fact, the pandemic has accelerated the adoption of digital payments in the country in the last two years. In FY22, UPI processed more than 46 billion transactions amounting to over Rs 84.17 trillion, thus breaching the $1 trillion mark. And in FY21, it had processed 22.28 billion transactions, amounting to Rs 41.03 trillion. So, both volume and value of transactions doubled in a year’s time, indicating the meteoric rise seen in the adoption of digital payments, especially UPI, in the country.
Further, since the pandemic began, UPI’s transaction volume and value has gone up by over 350 per cent. While initially UPI was initially considered a preferred payment mode for peer-to-peer (P2P) transactions, it has now emerged as the preferred mode for even peer-to-merchant (P2M) transactions, with over 56 per cent market share in volume terms 2021.
UPI crossed 1 billion transactions for the first time in October 2019, almost 3 years after its launch in 2016. But, the next billion came in under a year, as in October 2020, UPI processed more than 2 billion transactions. In the next ten months, UPI processed 3 billion transactions. And, it took only three months for the payment platform to reach 4 billion transactions per month, from 3 billion. The incremental one billion transactions were accomplished in just six months.
The next target for UPI is to process a billion transactions a day in the next 3 – 5 years. According to experts, the next boost to the already burgeoning UPI transactions will come the AutoPay feature, which has seen massive adoption since recurring payments through cards saw disruption due to the Reserve Bank of India’s new guidelines on e-mandates. The AutoPay feature of UPI allows recurring payments of upto Rs 5,000.
Recent initiatives of the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) and NPCI will also boost the transaction count and value in the coming days. NPCI has launched the “on-device” wallet feature for UPI users, known as “UPI Lite”, to facilitate small ticket transactions. NPCI is of the opinion that this “on-device” wallet feature will go a long way in achieving its pipe dream of processing one billion transactions a day in the next 3-5 years. Further, the RBI in association with NPCI has launched the UPI123Pay for 400 million feature phones, allowing all transactions to be done through feature phones without an internet connection.