NPCI International Payments (NIPL), the international arm of National Payments Corporation of India (NPCI), has joined hands with Euronext-listed payments facilitator Worldline to bring convenience to millions of Indians travelling to the Europe every year.

Their collaboration will allow Indians to pay through Unified Payments Interface (UPI) when they travel and shop in the European markets. 

This is being achieved by allowing European merchants’ point-of-sale (POS) systems to accept payments from UPI, an instant real-time payment system, as well as RuPay, NPCI’s proprietary card payment network solution.

NIPL agreement with Worldline will enable UPI to enter several markets, including Belgium, Switzerland, and the Netherlands to begin with.

Ritesh Shukla, CEO, NIPL, said, “In Worldline, we found a partner that provides us with good coverage of the European markets as well as an advanced and universally applicable solution. The roll-out of acceptance of UPI-powered Apps and RuPay Cards across Europe is important to us, as we expect increased mobility of Indians across the continent in the coming years. 

“We believe this partnership will empower Indian consumers to continue using their preferred payment modes as they travel across Europe.”

UPI and RuPay payments

Under the partnership, Worldline’s QR code-based mechanism will allow merchants’ POS systems in Europe to accept UPI payments from Indians using their mobile phones. Later, Indians will also be able to use RuPay debit and credit cards for their payments in Europe.

Marc-Henri Desportes, Deputy CEO of Worldline, said of the initiative: “Our analyses of international customers’ payment behaviour have indicated a push away from international card schemes in recent times, and a preference for any mobile payment method with which they are acquainted. Our partnership with NPCI International seeks to mitigate the risk of excluding or limiting Indian customers from safely using electronic payments in the EU.”

This latest tie-up is a further extension of NIPL’s efforts to take UPI into international markets. In September last year, NIPL signed an agreement with Singapore’s Liquid Group to enable UPI QR-based payments in 10 countries. 

In July this year, Electronics and Information Technology Minister Ashwini Vaishnav said that India is in talks with 30 countries regarding UPI and three countries—France, UAE, and Singapore—have already signed a Memorandum of Understanding.

The collaboration between NIPL and Worldline will see the latter become the first EU acquirer to offer Unified Payments Interface (UPI) and RuPay, two products of the National Payments Company of India (NPCI), to European merchants whilst providing an opportunity for them to build on their Indian customer base.

Currently, customers from India pay through international card networks. However, the hugely popular United Payments Interface allows multiple bank accounts to be accessed through one single mobile application. This, in turn, will enhance the customer experience whilst opening up new business prospects for merchants.

Facilitated via Worldline QR, the company’s universal product for the acceptance of all QR-based payments, the first target markets for NIPL are set to include BENELUX and Switzerland, with further plans for expansion, as Worldline QR is rolled out in more European countries.

Prior to the pandemic, India was one of the most important tourist markets for Europe, with an estimated 1 crore Indians travelling to the region each year. Now, as the impacts of Covid-19 begin to subside, that number is expected to significantly increase.