In a strategic move that is set to reshape the global digital payment landscape, Google Pay is gearing up for a collaboration with NPCI International Payments Limited (NIPL), a wholly-owned subsidiary of the National Payments Corporation of India (NPCI). The partnership aims to transcend the boundaries of UPI services (Unified Payments Interface).
The Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) inked between Google India Digital Services and NPCI International Payments Ltd (NIPL) paves the way for Google Pay users to engage in UPI transactions and make payments to foreign merchants via G-pay while travelling abroad. The feature eliminates the necessity for international cards, as users can now directly pay foreign merchants in local currency, sparing them from the often burdensome foreign currency transaction fees associated with international credit cards.
“This is in alignment with NPCI’s endeavour of bolstering India’s position in the global digital payment landscape. Moreover, the MoU will also significantly contribute to simplifying remittances by reducing dependence on conventional money transfer channels,” NPCI states.
The MoU has three key objectives. Firstly, it aspires to broaden the scope of UPI payments for global travellers, facilitating transactions abroad. Secondly, the collaboration aims to assist in establishing UPI-inspired digital payment systems in other countries. Lastly, it focuses on simplifying cross-border financial exchanges by leveraging the UPI infrastructure.
Currently, Google Pay is operative between India and Singapore, allowing users of Singapore's PayNow and India's UPI to engage in money transfers between the two nations using either of these platforms. Notably, plans are underway to extend P2P connections through UPI to other countries, including the UAE, Mauritius, and Indonesia.
The proposed service is currently accessible in UPI-functional countries, including Singapore, Australia, Canada, Hong Kong, Oman, Qatar, the USA, Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, and the United Kingdom. With this, Google Pay has become another player along with BHIM, PhonePe, and Paytm, as well as prominent banks such as Axis Bank, DBS Bank India, ICICI Bank, Indian Overseas Bank, and State Bank of India to offer such services.
Deeksha Kaushal, director, partnerships, Google Pay India, says, "UPI has demonstrated to the world the step change that happens in economies with the introduction of interoperable, population scale digital infrastructure.”
Ritesh Shukla, CEO – NPCI International Payments Limited (NIPL), says, “This strategic partnership will not only simplify foreign transactions for Indian travellers but will also allow us to extend our knowledge and expertise of operating a successful digital payments ecosystem to other countries.”
The growth of UPI in India is underscored by the staggering statistics of 117.6 billion transactions facilitated in 2023, marking a substantial increase from 74 billion transactions in 2022 and 38.7 billion transactions in 2021.