India leads world, processes 41 mn real-time transactions a day: Report

India has emerged as the global leader in real-time payments, handling 41 million transactions per day, according to a report by FIS Global. The real-time activity, the report said, has further improved in the country, with volumes jumping more than twice this year and the transaction value increasing 80 per cent.


Industry experts had earlier opined that the Covid pandemic accelerated the usage of real-time payment methods in the country. “India continues to innovate with the launch of extensive business services on real-time rails, including IPO subscription, mandate management, and invoice-in-the-box,” the report said.


India saw growth of around 213 per cent in the number of real-time payments processed over the past year; Bahrain, Ghana, the Philippines, and Australia witnessed faster growth in the same period. Furthermore, in terms of the increase in the monetary value of real-time payment transactions, the Philippines, Bahrain, Australia, and Ghana saw twofold increase.


China and South Korea, with more than 38 million and 12 million daily transactions per day, respectively, completed the top three in the Asia-Pacific region, along with India.


“The current pandemic has highlighted the critical importance of instantly getting funds in the hands of those who need it, whether individuals or businesses,” said Raja Gopalakrishnan, head of Global Real-time Payments, FIS.


The Immediate Payment System (IMPS), and Unified Payment Interface (UPI) have revolutionised real-time payment in India. Now UPI, in volume terms, is touching new highs every month and the pandemic has the accelerated the adoption of digital payments hugely.


While the National Payments Corporation of India (NPCI) has been successful in democratising digital payments over the past few years, especially with the launch of UPI, the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) has now invited private players to form a pan-Indian new umbrella entity (NUE) for retail payment systems. Many banks, including the country’s largest lender State Bank of India, are likely interested to bid for it. Speaking with FIS Global, Challa Sreenivasulu Setty, MD, SBI, said the RBI’s idea of inviting private players to set up a pan-Indian NUE for retail payment systems is primarily to ensure there are checks and balances to prevent monopoly and any concentration of risk in the hands of a single player.


A P Hota — former CGM, RBI and former MD & CEO, NPCI — was quoted as saying by FIS Global that because of high-transacting segments like retail real-time payments, bill payments, toll payments, bulk and repetitive payments are already under the NPCI,  but there are concerns about financial viability unless the RBI advises all large banks to join NUE to minimise concentration risk.

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