Unified Payments Interface (UPI)
Unified Payments Interface (UPI) is a payment system launched by National Payments Corporation of India (NPCI). It facilitates the fund transfer between two bank accounts through a smartphone. It converts multiple bank accounts into a single mobile application (of any participating bank), merging several banking features, seamless fund routing & merchant payments into one hood. It also caters to the "Peer to Peer" collect request which can be scheduled and paid as per requirement and convenience.
NPCI initially conducted a pilot launch of UPI with 21 member banks on 11th April 2016. It became officially operational from 25th August, 2016 onwards. UPI apps of banks can now be downloaded from Google Play Store and used for transactions.
The unique feature of UPI is that it immediate money transfer through mobile devices round the clock 24*7 and 365 days. Also, a single mobile application may be used for accessing different bank accounts. It may also be used for Utility Bill Payments, Over the Counter Payments and Barcode (Scan and Pay) based payments.
Other payments mode such as National Electronic Funds Transfer (NEFT) and Immediate Payment Service (IMPS) do not allow transactions to be made 24×7 all year round. Also, since NEFT transactions do not happen on holidays and during non-banking hours, there are limitations in funds transfer. In IMPS, account details and other details like the 11-digit Indian Financial System (IFS) Code, which indicates a bank’s branch code, have to be entered.
The usage of UPI is very simple. Users just have to link their bank account with mobile number. Next, they have to download the UPI app and register online on the app with account details. Fund transaction limit at present is Rs. 1 lakh per transaction and most of the banks charge zero transactions cost.