Exclusive: MobiKwik co-founder Upasana Taku says India’s biggest payment revolution may fizzle out before it begins

It’s that month of year. UPI ( Unified Payments Interface ) is in the air. The media’s going gaga about the Next Big Thing in India’s payments space. It’s supposed to go live by the end of this month with 15 participating banks. Mobile-wallet company MobiKwik ‘s co-founderUpasana Taku thinks it’s a bit over-hyped.

Taku ‘s MobiKwik is planning to roll out its UPI support by the end of the month. “UPI can make payments happen faster. It’s a great concept, but it’s won’t change anything overnight. In order for it to have any material value, people need to adopt it. Execution is the challenge here”, she observes.

Taku is clear MobiKwik won’t see a major up-shift because of it’s UPI support. “In the first few months, traction will be zero. In a year it can contribute to less than 5%. It might have significant impact only after 2-3 years”, she adds.

UPI was launched in April by the National Payments Corporation of India (NPCI). It offers instant, online bank payments, and is seen as a major change to the Indian financial sector. It would allow transactions to take place through a single virtual ID or mobile number authorized by banks, and the Bharat Banking Payment Systems, a utility bill service.

So far, only 2 banks have gone live with it, namely Axis Bank and Yes Bank . MobiKwik competitor Snapdeal’s FreeCharge has partnered with Axis Bank to allow its users to make payments through UPI.

“Banks wanted UPI from an image management perspective. It makes them look good. But to do actual work around it, I don’t know. Few have a cost structure that can reach users earning less than Rs. 40k a month”, Taku fumes.