The Reserve Bank on Friday issued instructions permitting travellers from G20 nations to use the mobile-based Unified Payments Interface (UPI) to make payments while in India.
UPI is a system that bunches multiple bank accounts into a single mobile application, merging several banking features, seamless fund routing and merchant payments under a common platform.
On Wednesday, the RBI had made an announcement regarding allowing access to UPI to foreign nationals and NRIs visiting India.
To start with, it had said the facility will be extended to travellers from the G20 countries at select international airports for their merchant payments (P2M) while they are in the country. Later, it will be enabled across all entry points in the country.
“Banks/ Non-banks permitted to issue PPIs can issue INR denominated full-KYC PPIs to foreign nationals / NRIs visiting India (to start with, this facility will be extended to travellers from the G-20 countries, arriving at select international airports),” it said in a circular.
Such prepaid payment instruments (PPIs) can also be issued in co-branding arrangement with entities authorised to deal in Foreign Exchange under FEMA, the circular said.
“The PPIs can be issued in the form of wallets linked to UPI and can be used for merchant payments (P2M) only,” it added. The instructions have come into force with immediate effect.
It further said the PPIs would be issued after physical verification of passport and visa of the customers at the point of issuance. “Loading / Reloading of such PPIs shall be against receipt of foreign exchange by cash or through any payment instrument,” the RBI said.
The unutilised balances in such PPIs can be encashed in foreign currency or transferred ‘back to source’. The G20 or Group of 20 is an intergovernmental forum of the world’s major developed and developing economies.
It comprises Argentina, Australia, Brazil, Canada, China, France, Germany, India, Indonesia, Italy, Japan, the Republic of Korea, Mexico, Russia, Saudi Arabia, South Africa, Turkey, the UK, the US, and the European Union (EU).
Payment transactions through UPI rose 1.3 per cent on-month to a high of nearly INR 13 lakh crore in January.