The National Payments Corporation of India (NPCI) has allowed UPI transactions for non-resident bank accounts linked to mobile numbers of 10 countries, it said in a notice.

Non-resident account types like NRE/NRO accounts having international mobile numbers shall be allowed to get on-boarded/transact in UPI, the notice said, adding that the step was taken after NPCI received several requests from the payments ecosystem and customers for the same.

NPCI has been working to expand and boost the use of UPI across the world, and this move will widen the use of digital payments as Indians living overseas will also be able to make instant transactions, said Rajsri Rengan, Head of Development-Banking & Payments, India and the Philippines, FIS.

It had allowed UPI transactions to and from NRO/NRE accounts linked to Indian numbers in October 2018. NRIs couldn’t access the UPI network since SIM binding, which is an important security feature of UPI, was available only to Indian SIM cards (phones), said Mandar Agashe, Founder and MD of Sarvatra Technologies, adding that allowing mobiles (SIMs) from other countries will open up huge pending demand from NRIs.

The 10 countries allowed under the facility are Singapore, Australia, Canada, Hong Kong, Oman, Qatar, USA, Saudi Arabia, UAE and United Kingdom.

NPCI has mandated all UPI members, including banks and payments platforms, to comply with the norms by April 30. The facility will soon be extended to mobile numbers of other countries as well, it said.

Instant transfer

“The major convenience factor would be in the form of ‘payment/money transfer convenience’ for NRIs when they visit India, and can pay easily across millions of Indian merchants accepting UPI, thus, doing away with the use of their expensive international cards,” said Vishwas Patel, Chairman of Payments Council of India (PCI) and Executive Director of Infibeam Avenues Ltd.

This also will also facilitate increasing adoption and popularity of Indian payments technology internationally and help make UPI a global payment and money transfer network, he added.