Digital Payments

Google Pay, PhonePe To Offer Auto Debit In India

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Google Pay and PhonePe, digital payment providers, are collaborating with the National Payments Corporation of India (NPCI) to offer recurring payments, Moneycontrol.com reported, citing banking sources.

The deal will enable customers to opt-in for automatic monthly payments for utility bills, installment payments, subscriptions, insurance premiums and more. The two apps have as many as 70 million users, Moneycontrol reported.

“Google Pay and PhonePe have started work on the recurring payments platform,” one of the bankers said, according to Moneycontrol. “They could be expected to go live within a month or so.”

The product is still under development and must be tested before being offered to millions of users, according to the report.

NPCI launched the long-awaited recurring payment platform facility last month with large banks, including HDFC Bank, State Bank of India and Axis Bank. The feature allows recurring payments to be set by a Unified Payments Interface (UPI) user with a password.

“UPI auto debit feature will transform recurring payment facilities and help merchants ease up the payments process, there are more than 10 banks which have started this,” a second banker told Moneycontrol. "More will be joining the ecosystem."

In May, PhonePe told Moneycontrol it was working with more than three dozen lenders and planned more partnerships. While the platform didn’t support recurring payments three months ago, it was a feature the Bengaluru-based company was planning to add.

The two bankers said partnerships would be expanded to mutual fund companies, insurance firms and systematic investment plans (SIPs), which allow users to invest a fixed amount in a mutual fund periodically.

“The user restriction is the 2,000 rupees [$26.71] limit, but I believe as the system stabilizes, the regulator will increase the limit as well,” said one of the bankers, according to Moneycontrol.

Google Pay and PhonePe did not respond to Moneycontrol’s request for comments.

Since its debut four years ago, India's instant payment system, developed by NPCI, has furthered the reach of online payments. Transaction volume of the platform soared to a record 1.34 billion in June as the pandemic caused Indians  to avoid cash.

In May, there were reports regulators in India were investigating Google over antitrust issues amid charges that the tech giant is using its market dominance to unfairly pitch Google Pay.

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