Unified Payments Interface or UPI, has managed to make lives easier by effectively bringing the various different banks under one platform. UPI enables its users to make inter-bank fund transfers instantly. It also allows the users to use multiple bank accounts under one single mobile application. UPI is the brainchild of National Payments Corporation of India (NPCI) and is controlled by the Indian Bank Association (IBA) and RBI. NPCI has been playing a pivotal role in helping the Indian economy transform into a cashless one.
UPI has been a real game-changer in the digitalization of the economy. It has made the instant transfer possible between bank accounts and users. UPI users can now transfer money between them without any interference from the banks. Gone are the days when you had to queue up in your local bank branch every time you wanted to do a money transfer, one single touch is all that you need now.
Key Features of UPI (Unified Payments Interface)
- UPI service can be availed 24/7 and even on public holidays
- Access to multiple bank accounts through one single mobile application
- A unique ID given by the bank, also known as Virtual Payment Address, is used by UPI
- Transfer of funds instantly via IMPS (Immediate Payment Service), this method works even faster than NEFT
- UPI uses your account number with the IFSC code and mobile number with Mobile Money Identifier or MMID
- Each UPI event requires your Mobile Banking Personal Identification Number (MPIN)
- For those users who don’t have a smartphone or is uncomfortable using the app can simply dial *99# and avail services like send money, fund transfer, request money, balance inquiry, MPIN change or any non-financial services.
- Different banks provide different UPI for platforms like Windows, Android, and iOS. In some cases, the bank may even charge for the UPI services.
- UPI is the perfect option for doing in-app payments, utility bill payments, OTC payments, merchant payment, and Barcode based payments.
Advantages of UPI (Unified Payments Interface)
When we talk about the pros of UPI, it is manifold. From making fund transfer easy and instant, it has also ensured that public holidays are no more an excuse for not making bank transactions. The main advantages of UPI are discussed below:
- Instant Transfer at minimal charges: Time barrier is not an issue anymore with UPI. One can now instantly transfer funds from one bank account to another, which is not possible with RTGS (30 minutes – 2 hours on average) and NEFT (1 hour – 4 hours) modes. The best part about Unified Payment Interface is that it either charges nothing or a minimal commission in some cases, which is still a lot lesser when compared to the other modes of fund transfer.
- Simple and easy to use: When you transfer money through UPI, you just have to fill in the virtual address of the recipient. You don’t have to fill in various details like account holder, account number, IFSC code and all that. So, that’s a big plus!
- 24*7 accessibility: Weekends or public holidays aren’t going to stop you from making fund transfers anymore. You can now transfer funds the moment you want to without depending upon the bank hours. UPI has made this possible and is one of the greatest advantages of using UPI.
Disadvantages of UPI
When someone asks about the disadvantages of UPI, there are actually very few. I would personally not call these as disadvantages, but just some factors which still has some scope for improvement.
- Transaction Limits: The transaction limit in UPI varies between different banks, however, with the majority of banks, the limit is set at Rs. 1 lakh making it a great option for small fund transfers. When it comes to bigger transfers, you will still have to rely on other transfer modes. NPCI has been working on removing this transaction limit, so we can be hopeful of getting rid of this problem very soon.
- Lack of trust: One of the major problems UPI has faced is the lack of trust Indians have on technology related to various concerns. It is another of those things which will be eradicated in the coming years.
Is UPI Secure?
The Unified Payment Interface works based on 2-factor authentication, which is similar to the OTP system, however, MPIN is used here instead of OTP. It also complies with all the regulatory guidelines making it completely risk-free.
Some popular UPI products:
- BHIM Axis Pay
- BHIM SBI Pay
- Google Pay (Tez) App
- BHIM UPI App
- PhonePe App