There is scope for the number of daily UPI (unified payments interface) transactions to go up to 100 crore from about 26 crore now, according to Reserve Bank of India Governor Shaktikanta Das.

“The system has capacity to handle 100 crore per day transactions. It is well geared to onboard new customers onto the UPI platform,” Das said at the launch of the Digital Payments Awareness Week (DPAW) 2023.

The Governor exhorted all banks and payment system operators (PSOs) to also significantly enhance the capacity of or modernise their systems. Otherwise, it will not be possible to actually deepen digital payments, he added.

He emphasised that once consumers are onboarded to the digital payments’ ecosystem, its advantages—availability, convenience, speed, and safety—would ensure customer satisfaction and lead to furthering digital payments. 

Das observed that the volume of UPI transactions increased multifold, from 45 lakh in January 2017 to 804 crore transactions in January 2023. The growth has been exponential

The value of UPI transactions has also increased, from just ₹1,700 crore in January 2017 to ₹12.98 lakh crore in January 2023.

Cross-border payments linkage

Referring to the launch of cross-border linkage between India and Singapore using their respective Fast Payment Systems—UPI and PayNow—last month, Das said this found a considerable amount of mention by delegates, ministers, and central bank governors from several countries at the recent Bengaluru G20 conference as perhaps the most likely way for facilitating cost-effective, easy, and seamless cross-border payments.

“So, we have a task ahead of us. We are working to link our payment systems (UPI) with other countries’ payment systems.

“We have begun the journey with the linkage with Singapore, and in the coming months and years, I’m sure, we are looking forward to establishing such a linkage with other countries,” the governor said.

75 Digital Villages programme

Das said the RBI has decided to initiate the 75 Digital Villages programme through the adoption of 75 villages and the involvement of village-level entrepreneurs.

Under this programme and in observance of 75 years of independence, PSOs will adopt 75 villages across the country and convert them into digital payment enabled villages. They will conduct two camps in each of these villages to enhance awareness and onboard merchants in the village for digital payments.

Deputy Governor T Rabi Sankar stressed that payments are at the core of the economy. Therefore, digitalising payments is essential to our core as an economy.

He observed that India’s model of developing payments systems is unique in that the private sector innovates on the infrastructure/platform developed by the public sector.