PhonePe Goes Live In UAE, Singapore, Mauritius, Nepal & Bhutan

Digital payments decacorn PhonePe has launched support for cross-border UPI payments, under UPI International.

The Walmart-owned payments major became the first in its category to integrate UPI International. PhonePe would now be available across merchant outlets that have a local QR code in the UAE, Singapore, Mauritius, Nepal and Bhutan.

PhonePe said the users would be able to make payments in foreign currencies directly from their bank accounts, similar to international debit cards.

UPI International, introduced by the cross-border arm of the National Payments Corporation of India (NPCI International Payments Limited), facilitates UPI transactions for the Indian diaspora abroad.

The digital payments app said that users can use their Indian bank accounts to pay at merchant outlets in the aforementioned countries. Earlier, Indian users had to use either foreign currency in cash or via a forex card.

NPCI plans to roll out UPI International to more countries over 2023.

Rahul Chari, CTO and cofounder of PhonePe, said, “UPI International is the first major step in letting the rest of the world experience UPI too. I am sure this launch will prove to be a game-changer and will completely transform the way Indians travelling overseas pay at merchant outlets abroad.”

PhonePe, which recently raised a mammoth $350 Mn funding round as part of its $1 Bn fundraise ahead of an initial public offer (IPO), is India’s largest UPI app by market size.

Per NPCI figures from December 2022, PhonePe processed 367.42 Cr transactions worth INR 6.39 Lakh Cr. The figures accounted for 47% of all UPI transactions and 50% of the total transaction value in December 2022.

The development comes as there is increased international interest in the government’s payments network. According to Union Minister for Electronics and IT Ashwini Vaishnaw, India is already in talks with around 30 countries for UPI.

Last month, NPCI instructed UPI members to allow non-resident account types such as non-resident external (NRE) and non-resident ordinary (NRO) accounts with international mobile numbers to use UPI to boost the network’s adoption by non-resident Indians (NRIs).

NPCI has enabled UPI transactions for NRE/NRO accounts with mobile numbers from Singapore, Australia, Canada, Hong Kong, Oman, Qatar, the US, Saudi Arabia, the UAE and the UK.

In January 2023, UPI recorded 803 Cr transactions worth $157.85 Bn, growing 2.65% and 1.3% month-on-month, respectively.

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