The Bankwatch

Tracking the consumer evolution of financial services

India launches ubiquitous mobile banking infrastructure

The United Payment Interface (UPI) launches commercially in India on Monday 18th, April, 2016. The first step was the launch of a national biometric identification system. This first step has met with apparent resounding success.


So far, India’s attempt to assign every citizen a unique 12-digit number associated with a person’s unique iris, fingerprint or facial features, is succeeding—just last week, Aadhaar reached its milestone of registering 1 billion people. With more than 80 percent of Indians enrolled, it gives the payments system a solid base to build on.

The Bloomberg article goes on to note that the UPI will bring capabilities similar to M-Pesa in Kenya which means new companies can offer low cost banking and money transfer to millions who have never even had a regular bank account, due to availability and cost. It references one such offer coming from Khosla:

Vinod Khosla, billionaire investor and co-founder of Sun Microsystems. His Bangalore-based incubator Khosla Labs is backing an Indian startup called Novopay, which offers mobile banking at 44,000 kiranas, or neighborhood convenience stores, in the country.

What I and many find interesting is that while the motivation for these initiatives is to bring banking to the unbanked, the methodology and consumer costs involved would be a very attractive proposition to many in the west who are very ‘banked’.

Written by Colin Henderson

April 17, 2016 at 14:46

Posted in Uncategorized

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