Will Unified Payment Interface (UPI) bring financial inclusion in India?

Technology will play a key role in bringing financial inclusion to India. Mobile phone penetration is growing. With an estimated 700+ million mobile phone installed base, every family will likely have a mobile phone or at least access to one in the next year. In the absence of suitable financial services infrastructure, mobile phones will be the interface of financial inclusion.

The Government of India (GoI) recently announced UPI (Unified Payment Interface), which allows users to send and receive money from one bank to another using a UPI address. These addresses can be an Aadhaar number, a mobile number, or an email address linked to a bank account. The UPI money transfer process doesn’t require any bank account details or IFSC code of banks and it works seamlessly across bank platforms on a real time basis, even during holidays.

After launching in 2016, UPI has been adopted by 35 national banks in India. To increase the mobile base transaction process further, the GoI launched a UPI-based BHIM (Bharat Interface for Money) mobile app in Dec 2016. Within the short period of three weeks, transactions through UPI have doubled to reach around 180,000 per day as at in mid-January 2017. This initial growth is primarily urban-centric and tech-enthusiast driven.

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