Amazon and Google Get Payments Clearance in India

Google and Amazon have been cleared to expand their online payments businesses in India.

The country’s central bank on Wednesday (Feb. 15) published a list of 32 companies that have permission to act as online payments aggregators in India, among them Google Pay and Amazon Pay.

With this approval, the companies on the list can onboard merchants and take payments on their behalf. It allows two of the biggest tech companies on the planet to grow their payments businesses in what is one of the world’s most populous countries. 

Digital payments are ballooning in India. As noted here last year, the volume of digital payments increased by 33% year-over-year between 2021 and 2022. The country recorded $74 billion in digital payment transactions during that time frame, up from $55 billion the year before, according to the Indian Ministry of Electronics and IT.

Meanwhile, the country is also paving the path to payments interoperability across providers and borders, as PYMNTS reported last month.

“For payments to become truly ubiquitous — especially real-time remittances — countries’ payments schemes have to connect, streamlining the direct transfer of funds,” PYMNTS wrote.

With that in mind, the National Payments Corporation of India (NPCI) announced it was widening access to the Unified Payments Interface (UPI) to non-resident Indians in several countries, including Singapore, the U.K., Australia, Canada and the U.S.

“There has been customer demand in the ecosystem to enable UPI for their [non-resident] accounts …[to] experience the seamless and instant journey of UPI,” the NPCI wrote.

Other companies who won approval from the RBI included RelianceZomato and Razorpay, which in December paused onboarding of online merchants as it awaited final approval of its payment aggregator license.

PhonePe, the Walmart-backed platform which was valued at $12 billion this week, also applied and is under review, the Reverse Bank of India (RBI) said. 

The RBI release noted that it had returned the application of four companies, among them eCommerce firm Paytm

The bank said these companies could reapply within 120 days of their applications being returned. They can “continue business subject to the condition that no new merchants should be onboarded until advised otherwise,” the RBI said.

PYMNTS wrote about the rejection of this application in November. Paytm said at the time that the decision had “no material impact” on its business.