E-wallet companies will now give competition to banks with Reserve Bank of India allowing them to use the Unified Payment Interface (UPI) besides issuing prepaid debit cards such as Rupay, Visa, and Mastercard. The access to UPI will grant wallet companies access to all other wallet companies and the banking system that uses the payment interface.
This will give customers a wide choice, who can transfer money from a wallet to a bank account and vice-versa seamlessly using BHIM UPI, an application launched by National Payments Corporation of India for multi-bank payments system for funds transfer and merchant payments.
Besides, wallet companies will also be allowed to issue Rupay, Mastercard and Visa Prepaid cards (that would work just like bank debit cards), which is expected to push the use of these cards on the e-commerce sites as well as bank PoS terminals. Merchants who do not have PoS terminal can have Bharat QR Code and all banks and wallet companies will be able to make payments by scanning this interoperable QR Code.
Sunil Kulkarni, joint managing director, Oxigen, a wallet firm, said, “Until now, customers were having multiple wallets with multiple balances. Now, they need not worry about individual balances and can transfer balances from their wallets through UPI as well as send money to their friends who may have different wallet.”
There are 90 crore debit cards, of which about six crore are used on e-commerce sites. “This can go up substantially once the wallet companies can also issue Rupay/Visa/Mastercard prepaid cards,” Kulkarni said.
Even in the shops, earlier the wallet companies had to have an agreement with individual merchants, but now with cards and the access to the UPI, entire merchant ecosystem with PoS terminals and Bharat QR Code will accept all wallets without individual merchant agreements, which is a big step towards digitisation.
Wallet operators had Rs 15,000 crore in wallet payments, including fund transfers, while in the UPI payments were Rs 60,000 crore in August 2018, according to RBI data.