RBI-backed UPI ignored amid the din of ‘Paytm karo’

HYDERABAD: Heard of UPI? Maybe Unified Payment Interface rings a bell? PayTm would definitely sound familiar.

Over the last one month, the country has been introduced or made to adapt to several new-age banking concepts like cashless economy, online banking, e- and mobile wallets and above all, PayTm. UPI is a government of India and RBI-backed equivalent of PayTm, a cashless payment mechanism.

Launched in April, this government-owned online platform for transactions remained largely neglected due to poor publicity.

“I applied for paytm a few days ago. Since the note ban my sales have gone down but its now getting better as people pay through PayTm,” said T Prasad, owner of Rocking Rolls at Ameerpet.

Prasad has no idea about UPI or its functions. Nor does he know that after Dec 31, PayTm will charge transaction charges, making services slightly more expensive. Like him, several other vendors are unaware of the government-backed app.

“Most of the food outlets in shopping malls use PayTm which is why street food vendors too are using it,” said Mohammad Sajjad, secretary of Telangana Street Vendors Association. He too is unaware of UPI. “The sales have been down for all of them and they are desperate to get back to profit making. The vendors will use payment platforms which are popular with public,” he added.

Meanwhile, unlike PayTm, all transactions across UPI are free. The National Payments Corporation of India (NPCI) developed UPI saw a substantial increase, of 2,87,000 in volume of sales carried over the platform, for the month of November. This would translate to `9,05,000 in terms of value of transactions for the same month, reveals RBI data. Though encouraging, this pales in comparison to how PayTm has fared during the same period.

PayTm, since demonetisation, has noted a four-fold increase in the number of transactions. The company claims it had over 67,000 merchants using its service across South India in November alone.