With more than 1,000 crore transactions amounting to over ₹17-lakh crore, this Indian digital payment platform has recorded a new milestone in three years.

Launched in 2016, Unified Payments Interface (UPI) of the National Payments Corporation of India (NPCI) witnessed 1,029.44 crore transactions till August 2019. This mobile-only payment ecosystem helped transact a total of ₹17.29-lakh crore during the 37 months.

Interestingly, nearly 80 per cent of the transactions and the amount transacted on this ecosystem took place in the third year (September 2018 to August 2019) of its operations.

The total number of transactions stood at 819.03 crore (79.56 per cent), and the amount transacted at ₹14.11-lakh crore (81.60 per cent) during September 2018 and August 2019.

During the post-demonetisation days, UPI gave a boost to digital payments, with the number of transactions on the platform crossing the 19-lakh-mark in December 2016. Till then, the monthly transactions volume was below three lakh.

The launch of Bharat Interface for Money (BHIM) app by NPCI on the UPI platform in December that year helped boost the growth of payments even further.

However, the share of BHIM in the total number of transactions on the UPI decreased from 41.36 per cent in January 2017 to 1.82 per cent in August 2019, and the amount transacted on BHIM came down from 21.49 per cent in January 2017 to 3.96 per cent in August 2019.

During the initial months of its operations, UPI was more of a person-to-person (P2P) payment platform. The technology companies that made an entry into this segment started offering person-to-merchant (P2M) option on UPI.


In the recent ‘India Digital Payments Report’, Worldline India (owned by Worldline, a payments company based in Europe) said that Paytm, PhonePe and Google Pay collectively process more than 90 per cent of all UPI transactions. It said that Google Pay leads in transaction volume as well as amount transacted.

While speaking at the ‘G20 Finance Leaders Meeting’ in Japan in June, Caesar Sengupta, General Manager, Payments, and Vice-President, Next Billion Users, had said that Google Pay has grown together with the rest of the digital payments ecosystem in India.

He had said two out of every three transactions on Google Pay take place outside of the top-six cities in more than three lakh towns and villages across the country.

PhonePe’s July blog post said that PhonePe is accepted as a payment option across 50 lakh merchant outlets in India. “We started this year with one million merchants and that number has already grown five times in a span of just six months,” it said.

QR code

PhonePe said the QR solution allows merchants to accept consumer payments from any UPI app, ensuring they don’t have to go through the hassle of dealing with multiple apps.

On the popularity of QR code in the digital payments ecosystem, a blog post by NPCI said that a merchant does not need to install a point-of-sale (PoS) machine at his store. A printout of the QR code at his shop reduces the entry barrier related to cost for the merchant.

Momentum to continue

‘India Digital Payments Report’ of Worldline India said that several aggregators are increasing the UPI merchant base by pushing QR-based offline acceptance platforms.

UPI transactions are expected to touch 100-crore transactions a month, with a focus on P2M payments, it said.

With the debut of players such as Amazon Pay and Mi Pay and the impending mass roll-out of WhatsApp Pay, it looks like the UPI ecosystem would most likely continue its momentum, the report added.