National Payments Corporation of India (NPCI), the umbrella organisation for all retail payments system in the country has launched the next generation online payments solution - Unified Payments Interface (UPI) which will leverage trends such as increasing smartphone adoption and deeper penetration of mobile data. UPI empowers users to perform instant push and pull transactions seamlessly which will transform the way people make payments.
UPI is a unique payment solution as the recipient is now empowered to initiate the payment request from a smartphone. It facilitates "virtual address" as a payment identifier for sending and collecting money and works on single click 2 factor authentication. It also provides an option for scheduling push and pull transactions for various purposes like sharing bills among peers. One can use UPI app instead of paying cash on delivery on receipt of product from online shopping websites and can perform miscellaneous expenses like paying utility bills, over the counter payments, barcode (scan and pay) based payments, donations, school fees and other such unique and innovative use cases.
The interface is the advanced version of NPCI's Immediate Payment Service (IMPS) which is a 24*7*365 funds transfer service. UPI will offer a facility to identify a bank customer with an email - like virtual address. It will allow a customer to have multiple virtual addresses for multiple accounts in various banks. In order to ensure privacy of customer‟s data, there is no account number mapper anywhere other than the customer's own bank. This allows the customer to freely share the financial address with others. A customer can also decide to use the mobile number as the name instead of the short name for the virtual address like 1234567890@sbi.
The Unified Payment Interface allows payments to be initiated by the payer, or by the payee. In the basic payee initiated flows, the payment request is routed by the initiating application through the NPCI switch to the payer for approval. However, in certain instances, where it is possible to connect with the payer immediately, it is preferred that the payee sends a payment request to the payer, who can then initiate the payment request with his credentials.
This leads to a significantly smoother payment experience. Some examples of these include in-app payments–where the merchant app, may send the request to the PSP app on the same device, instead of a collect request via the PSP network. Another example may be for proximity payments, where the payer and payee are using different devices, but are close enough for the information to be transmitted locally.
Example 1: Seamless in - app payment within the same mobile of the user.
Example 2 : DTH payment from home.
The user goes to an ecommerce web site (Rohit Stores) on his mobile phone, and places an order. The website generates a link, which the user can click on, to complete the payment.As per the specification, the link contains the payee details, the transaction reference (order id), and the amount to be paid.
upi://paypa=zeeshan@npci&pn=Zeeshan%Khan&mc=0000&tid=cxnkjcnkjdfdvjndkjfvn&tr=4894398 cndhcd23&tn=Pay%to%rohit%stores&am=1010&cu=INR&refUrl=https://rohit.com/orderid=9298yw 89e8973e87389e78923ue892
When the user clicks on the link on his mobile browser, it invokes the local PSP application, where the user can confirm the details, and complete the payment.
Because of the design simplicity, user familiarity with hyperlinks, and the ease of sharing, such links can be generated and shared across multiple communication channels, such as email, chat, and social networks.
QR code consists of black modules arranged in a square pattern on a white background. The information encoded can be made up of four standardized kinds (“modes”) of data (numeric, alphanumeric, byte/binary, Kanji), or by supported extensions virtually any kind of data.
QR codes can be used for proximity payments with UPI. Developers who are developing merchant applications must generate a URL fully compliant to specification in previous section and then create a QR code of that URL.
upi://paypa=zeeshan@npci&pn=Zeeshan%Khan&mc=0000&tid=cxnkjcnkjdfdvjndkjfvn&tr=4894398 cndhcd23&tn=Pay%to%rohit%stores&am=1010&cu=INR&refUrl=https://rohit.com/orderid=9298 yw 89e8973e87389e78923ue892
Note to PSPs:
Considering the simplicity, openness, and wide acceptance of QR codes and its ability to be printed, displayed on PoS devices, and various screens, etc., PSP applications are encouraged to include a QR code scan option within their UPI application.So that customers can use a single app to scan and pay.
UPI linking is protocol agnostic and hence allows innovative mechanisms between Merchant/proximity devices to send UPI intent to customer phone. For example, a merchant PoS application could create the UPI link (as per spec in previous section) and then transmit using sound to the customer device. Customer PSP app or a utility app can listen to that sound, convert it back to the link, and then launch the UPI application on customer phone to make the payment. Note that there can be 3rd party general purpose utility applications that allows users to scan these QR codes, launch the link, allow other innovative transfer protocols using sound, etc. Such apps can work as a proxy utility that sends/receives these links and then launch the appropriate apps that are listening to these intents.
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