NPCI looks to boost UPI payments at small merchants

In a move that is directly aimed at speeding up a small merchant’s ability to collect payments through the Unified Payments Interface, the National Payments Corporation of India has said they could be on-boarded as individuals to start with and not as businesses.

In a circular issued on June 17, the retail payments body identified a new category for UPI payments — P2PM. This is in addition to P2P (person-to-person payments) and P2M (person-to-merchant payments). 

The move has been aimed at onboarding small merchants and vendors with low-value ticket sizes under the ambit of digital payments. 

Additionally NPCI has issued two major conditions for onboarding merchants under this category. 

“Acquirers may include all small merchant enterprises which are presently not in the digital payments ambit and the pricing and other applicable charges under this category shall be the same as that of P2P,” said Praveena Rai, chief operating officer, NPCI, in the circular. 

NPCI has also said that these small merchants will have a Rs 50,000 per month limit and the acquirer is not allowed to charge anything to the merchant on-boarded under this category.

To get them into the fully recognised merchant category, a three-month cooling period has been suggested and that a transaction limit of Rs 50,000 be maintained.

UPI is primarily used for P2P payments and is slowly shifting towards merchant transactions. 

Paytm, one of the largest digital payments players in the country, told ET recently that it would be introducing incentives in the merchant payments business to encourage cash transactions to move to this mode.

Merchant aggregating platforms like BharatPe and Benow are in the business of acquiring merchants for UPI payments and they can pitch this instant settlement product to merchants, who are used to dealing in cash. 

“This system was prevalent in the past as well, now NPCI has put it out in the form of a circular,” said a founder of a digital payments startup. “This validates the hypothesis that for small merchants the need of the hour is to onboard them as individuals first and then move their category, to speed up the process.”


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