The National Payments Corporation of India (NPCI) has set a cap of 30% on total volume of UPI transactions processed by Third Party App (TPA) providers, which will come into place from January 2021. UPI — the Unified Payments Interface — has exceeded two billion transactions, according to the NPCI, with TPAs like Google Pay and PhonePe accounting for the majority of this figure. Now, the NPCI has put a cap on the proportion of transactions that a single company can process, in order to “address the risks and protect the UPI ecosystem as it further scales up,” the NPCI wrote. This will largely affect Google Pay and PhonePe, and present an opportunity for others such as Paytm and MobiKwik. There are also concerns that by capping the number of transactions a company can do in a month, it might lead to greater failure rates of transactions.
The UPI ecosystem is heavily dominated by only two companies — Google Pay and PhonePe. According to a recent report, both companies account for around 40 percent of the number of transactions — each. Aside from this, two other companies, Paytm and MobiKwik are together almost 20 percent of the UPI transactions. All other apps, ranging from the government's BHIM UPI app, to the many bank apps, barely have any share.
With this new rule, the companies will see their share change — the cap of 30 percent will be calculated on the basis of total volume of transactions processed in UPI during the preceding three months on a rolling basis. According to the announcement, the TPAs that have more than a 30 percent share will have a two year period to comply in a phased manner.
It's not clear what will happen if a company hits a cap — whether it would be allowed to carry out further transactions at that point in time, or whether it would have to stop. This means that if you're using a popular TPA like Google Pay or PhonePe, would this lead to more failed transactions? At present, this is not certain. WhatsApp is another contender in this space which has been waiting in the wings for permissions, and it has now been given permission by the NPCI to go ahead with its rollout.
WhatsApp Pay has now been given permission to expand its users in a phased manner, with a maximum user base of up to 20 million users. To compare, PhonePe recently announced that it has hit the 250 million user mark.
Why are smartphone prices rising in India? We discussed this on Orbital, our weekly technology podcast, which you can subscribe to via Apple Podcasts, Google Podcasts, or RSS, download the episode, or just hit the play button below.