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PayTM adds support for UPI payments

Customers of PayTM, India’s largest wallet service can now make payments using the Unified Payments Interface, the government of India’s open payments platform.

The company has signed up with ICICI Bank be able to receive payments from its customers who are on the UPI platform using its ID ‘paytm@icici’.

However, customers cannot simply transfer the money to the above ID and expect to see it in their wallet, as it has not mapped all its wallet IDs with their UPI addresses.

In other words, if a customer ‘rajesh@sbi’ sends Rs 100 to ‘paytm@icici’, the money will reach the company, but it won’t know which account to credit it to.

To overcome this problem, the Vijay Shekhar Sharma-promoted company is using a special feature in the Unified Payments Interface system — ‘asking’ for money.

In other words, to top up your wallet or make a payment, you have to enter your UPI ID on the payment page where you would normally have entered your credit card details.

Once you enter your ID, you will get a prompt on your smartphone (check its notifications) asking whether you want to pay Rs X to PayTM. If you click on ‘yes’, it will ask you for your 4 or 6 digit PIN used for UPI transactions.

TEMPORARY SOLUTION

This is a quick solution by the wallet company to integrate its services with the new platform.

The company’s long-term plan is to enter the new payment system as a full-fledged player with its IDs instead of depending on banks.

It has already got a payments banking license and will soon start banking operations. For the record, Airtel — which got its license at the same time as PayTM — has already got its banking operations off the ground.

Once Sharma’s outfit follows suit, customers of the wallet service will be able to get a more full fledged experience of the new platform.

WITHDRAWALS 

Once the payments bank license is rolled out, customers will be able to withdraw the money from their wallet accounts to their bank accounts without entering their bank details.

At present, to withdraw their funds for the first time, customers have to add their bank account details (though this has to be done only once.)

Secondly — and more importantly — you can only transfer money to another person who is using PayTM, and not to the others.

Once the Payments Bank license is in place, this too will be sorted out and you will be able to transfer money to others bank accounts using their UPI addresses — whether or not they use the wallet service or not.

According to estimates, the wallet service is about 3-4 times as popular as Unified Payments Interface in India at present, though that gap is reducing rapidly. Given the growth of the new platform, the gap may disappear in another 4-6 months as banks aggressively push their own apps.

However, if Sharma’s company rolls out its banking operations before that and offers interest on the money kept by people in their wallets, it may be able to stand its own ground against the increased competition.

Last week, the government of India has also entered the fray directly using its BHIM app.

The app leverages the Unified Interface and the customer’s existing bank account. The app is not much of a threat as it does not take money out of bank accounts, unlike PayTM, which takes money out of bank accounts and stores it in its internal system.

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