While nearly all the major banks with the exception of SBI and HDFC have come up with UPI apps for regular users, ICICI Bank has gone a step further by bringing out an app specially dedicated to merchants.
The app requires a current account with ICICI Bank to operate, and any small merchant or shopkeeper can use it as a payment option to deal with the ongoing demonetization problems.
Compared to getting a swiping (or POS) machine, this solution is almost costless.
It is not clear if there is also a web-based or Windows version of the app for ease of inputting bill numbers and so on.
It is also possible to create software that automatically sends information from the billing software to the UPI app from which an electronic ‘pull’ request can be generated for the customer to pay on his mobile.
However, under the ICICI Collect Android app, the merchant has to input the bill number and the total amount to be paid. In case the payment is being made using UPI, the customer’s UPI address also needs to be entered. For this, the merchant may have to buy a physical keyboard for ease of typing.
Payment can also be requested via an SMS link, which is sent to the customer’s mobile phone, or via a QR code.
“You will also be notified when customers respond to your collect request. You can also navigate to the “Transaction History” screen on your application to view the Collect requests you have raised in the past, the status of each transaction and the ability to re-raise a failed transaction,” says ICICI Bank.
Like cards, UPI payments work at any time of the day.
However, the biggest limitation of the new system is lack of awareness among customers. The number of people using the new platform is only around 1 mln in India, though fast rising.
However, if a customer does not have his UPI set up on his mobile phone and is out of cash, he can download any UPI app, install it and set his secret code in under five minutes.
One of the key advantages of the platform from a merchants’ perspective is that there is no transaction charge on the facility, at least for now. For debit and credit cards, merchants have to pay around 1.8-2.5% as transaction charges.
Yes Bank is also implementing solutions based on UPI for merchants.