Google’s local Indian unit has signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) with NPCI International Payments Limited, the international arm of the National Payments Corporation of India, to broaden the use of the country’s Unified Payments Interface. The MoU marks a significant milestone in India’s effort to promote adoption of the UPI outside the country.
The MoU makes it easier for UPI users traveling abroad to access the system, permits more manageable cross-border payments for merchants, and provides a model for other jurisdictions building seamless digital payment systems.
Google launched its UPI-enabled mobile app, Tez, for the domestic Indian market in 2017, later incorporating it into Google Pay. The UPI, which the NPCI introduced in 2016, is an open application programming interface running on the Immediate Payment Service under the regulatory aegis of the Reserve Bank of India. UPI ended 2023 handling approximately 12 billion transactions per month. That’s still a small number in comparative terms: Visa and Mastercard processed 242 billion and 113 billion credit card payments, respectively, per month in 2020, according to Statista.
The MoU with Google “will not only simplify foreign transactions for Indian travelers but will also allow us to extend our knowledge and expertise in operating a successful digital payments ecosystem to other countries,” Ritesh Shukla, CEO of NIPL, said in a prepared statement. “We are also excited about enabling a seamless and more connected international remittance network by further expanding UPI’s cross-border interoperability feature.”
Google is not the first partner NIPL has found to internationalize UPI. In September 2021, NIPL signed an MoU with the Liquid Group, a cross-border digital payments provider, to provide QR-based UPI payments in 10 North and Southeast Asian countries. Two months later, it signed another MoU with local payment platform provider PPR to provide UPI access to PPRO’s payment service providers and global retailers.