If UPI (Unified Payments Interface) can be used for cardless cash withdrawal at an ATM, can it not be adapted for making a cash deposit at a cash recyler machine (CRM)? This may be possible, going by the innovation that players in the ATM ecosystem are working on.

Also read: Banks to go in for big ATM push in the next 12-18 months

Currently, when a customer chooses the ‘UPI cardless cash” withdrawal option on the ATM screen, he will be prompted to enter the amount to be withdrawn. After entering the amount, a single use dynamic QR code is displayed and the customer needs to scan the same using any Bank’s mobile banking app and authorise the transaction with UPI PIN to get cash.

Sumil Vikamsey, Managing Director & Chief Executive Officer – Cash Business, Hitachi Payment Services, said, the process for ‘UPI cardless cash’ deposit will be similar to ‘UPI cardless cash’ withdrawal.

“So, you can do an UPI-based cash withdrawal at an ATM. You can tap on the ‘UPI cardless cash’ withdrawal option on the ATM screen, scan the QR code that is generated using any UPI app, enter UPI PIN in your UPI App to authenticate and withdraw money.

“We are now trying to work with the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) and the National Payments Corporation of India (NPCI) on the possibility of allowing UPI-based deposit.”

He underscored that for this, the same rails can be used, with a QR (quick response) code being generated by the CRM for making a deposit.

“So, if you want to make a UPI-based deposit of ₹10,000 at a CRM, you could choose ‘UPI cardless cash’ deposit option on the screen. A QR code will get generated. You can scan this code with your UPI app.

“Once the QR is scanned, and UPI PIN validation is successful, you can select which account this deposit needs to go to. Upon selecting the account for deposit on your UPI App, CRM will prompt you to place money in the machine and upon successful acceptance it will send a deposit message to the account which was selected in your UPI App. This way, we will be meeting requirement to allow only KYCed customer to deposit (since using UPI App will authenticate the customer) and deposit can go to any account,” Vikamsey said.

The difference between an ATM and a CRM is that the former primarily dispenses cash, while the latter dispenses cash as well as accepts cash deposits.

Santhosh Nair, Director -- WLA Business, Site Acquisition & Projects, Hitachi Payment Services, observed that interoperable cash deposits, which allow a customer to deposit cash in Cash Recyclers/Cash Deposit Machines for credit in their own account or third party account and UPI-based deposit at CRMs are expected to get a fillip this year.

Also read: Don’t neglect ATMs

UPI, which was launched in April 2016, is NPCI’s retail payment product that powers multiple bank accounts into a single mobile application (of any participating bank) for immediate fund transfers and a variety of payments. It supports merchant payments, utility bill payments, over-the-counter payments, QR code (scan and pay)-based payments and the like, through mobile devices on a 365x24x7 basis.

The number of Banks live on UPI stands at 560. The number of ATMs under the National Financial Switch network stood at 2.65 lakh as of January-end 2024.