Indian telecom operator Reliance Jio, the largest in the country, is entering the Unified Payments Interface (UPI) space to compete alongside rivals, reports said on Monday (Jan. 20), including big names like Google Pay, PhonePe, Paytm and more.
The company app shows that it'll be offering UPI services to its 370 million customers. While it's only available now to some of those subscribers, it will eventually become available to everyone using Reliance Jio.
The company was in talks to work with WhatsApp on rolling out the feature. However, as of Monday (Jan. 20), WhatsApp had not been cleared with the National Payments Corporation of India (NPCI) due to uncertainty over data localization and other issues.
Jio already has a wallet service called JioMoney. Yet, as a telecom operator, it will be the first to offer a UPI service, and the second among payment banks to offer the service. The UPI option is integrated into Reliance Jio's main app MyJio, alongside popular additions like JioCinema, JioCloud and JioTV.
Using the service will allow customers to get payment addresses with the handle @Jio. From there, they can enter a mobile number and debit card number to get a UPI PIN.
The service doesn't have a specific name as of yet. While some thought it would be called JioPay, the company already has an AutoPay feature under that moniker, which allows customers to recharge their numbers five days before a recharge is needed, or after 90 percent of one's data is used.
Jio's foray into UPI is just another sign that the field will grow increasingly competitive. Big names like PhonePe, Google Pay and Amazon Pay are all vying for more dominance in the market.
The entrance by Jio also comes as India is reforming its financial system, banning the merchant discount rate that previously set a cost for electronic payments to merchants. The goal was to boost digital payments, such as UPI. This will make it cheaper for people to use credit cards, but it could have an adverse effect as banks seek to regain capital lost once the fines have dried up.