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Android Pay to enter India soon through Unified Payments Interface (UPI)

Google is preparing to introduce its digital wallet, Android Pay, in India this year, anchoring the platform to the government-backed Unified Payments Interface as are other global companies including Stripe and WhatsApp.

Stripe – the San Francisco-based startup that allows businesses in more than 100 countries to easily accept all kinds of digital payments -was in advanced talks to launch in India through a partnership with UPI.

Last month, AP Hota, managing director of National Payments Corporation of India that developed UPI, said messaging service WhatsApp had shown interest in UPI for the launch of its new payments platform here.

Google recently announced a payment API (application programming interface) that will open up all Android smartphones to online payments, making it suitable for India’s cashless drive.

Google launched Android Pay in the US in 2015 and has since introduced the service in several countries, including the UK, Russia, Australia, Singapore and Japan. In these regions, it has partnered with multiple banks to enable quick and easy inapp and contactless transactions through Android Pay .

The Indian government-backed UPI links bank accounts to facilitate quick and seamless transactions and got a big thrust recently with the Narendra Modi administration’s push towards cashless payments. According to NPCI data, about 6.9 million transactions were carried out through UPI in April.

The timing is right for global digital payments companies to enter India through UPI as there are no established winners in that world yet.

UPI is truly well-suited for peer-to-peer and other on-phone payments experiences. This makes it a natul fit for WhatsApp and for purchasing apps or payments in-app for the Google. As far as Stripe is concerned, it’s really a payment gateway. As they do not directly have a large consumer base, their motivations are more to enable UPI for their overseas clients targeting Indian consumers and for Indian companies as a part of a broader payments acceptance offering.

Recently, communications platform Truecaller launched a UPI-based mobile payment solution in partnership with ICICI Bank. Recently, Samsung Pay also went live with UPI. Indian messaging startup Hike Messenger is also set to launch payments through UPI.

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