The National Payments Corporation of India (NPCI) on Thursday went live with UPI 2.0 — an upgraded version of its Unified Payments Interface (UPI) service, which will allow users to block funds for a future transaction and pre-authorise the same. This facility to set up a one-time mandate will be available to both consumers and merchants. The upgrade will also enable customers to link their overdraft account to UPI, in addition to current and savings accounts. Customers will be able to transact instantly and all benefits associated with the OD account will be available to them, essentially making UPI 2.0 an additional digital channel to access the OD account. The feature is aimed at users who may not have a credit card but would like to access a credit facility while making digital payments.
In addition, while making a merchant payment, UPI 2.0 users will be able to access a digital invoice which will help them view and verify the merchant’s credentials and ascertain if the invoice has come from the correct merchant. Customers can pay seamlessly once they have verified the amount and other details in the invoice. However, this functionality will work only for transactions where the merchant is a verified one. Another embedded security feature is the signed intent and QR, which will allow a customer to check the authenticity of merchants. While scanning a QR code, it will offer the user information to ascertain if the merchant is a verified UPI merchant. These transactions will also be processed faster as customers will not have to enter the app passcode in case a signed intent is involved.
Dilip Asbe, MD and CEO, NPCI, said the update to the payments channel will help expand its use, especially in the person-to-merchant (P2M) payment space. “While the first three features take care of the business aspect, the fourth feature of the upgrade is to enhance the security of transactions,” he added. Reserve Bank of India (RBI) governor Urjit Patel, who attended the launch function, stressed the need for ensuring adequate importance to be ascribed to cybersecurity, stating that all efforts need to be channelled to this area and that costs should not be an inhibiting factor to this critical area.
The banks that have joined UPI 2.0 so far are State Bank of India (SBI), HDFC Bank, Axis Bank, ICICI Bank, IDBI Bank, RBL Bank, YES Bank, Kotak Mahindra Bank, IndusInd Bank, Federal Bank and HSBC. Other banks are likely to come on board over the next two-three months. UPI was launched on April 11, 2016. It recorded 235 million transactions worth `45,845 crore in July 2018.