India's UPI Launch in France Opens Gateway to Global Fintech Power
The famous Eiffel Tower in Paris is now officially offering India's Unified Payments Interface (UPI) service. With the financial technology’s official debut, France becomes the first country to accept the Indian digital payment system in Europe. This marks a significant milestone that paves the way for India to achieve global fintech power. Indian tourists can now use the digital finance service to effortlessly make hotel reservations, museum visits, and other destinations. Rejoicing the launch, which makes Eiffel Tower France’s first merchant to accept UPI payments, Prime Minister Narendra Modi remarked on social media platform X that the action is a fantastic example of promoting digital payments and solidifying relationships.
Although the Eiffel Tower was the first establishment in France to accept UPI payments, other retailers and travel agencies will soon be able to use this service as well. Considering that Indian visitors to the Eiffel Tower make up the second-largest group of foreign visitors, this action is extremely significant.
The success of launching UPI at the tower was thanks to NPCI’s arm, NPCI International Payments (NIPL), which partnered with Lyra, a French provider of proximity payments and e-commerce services. Starting with the Eiffel Tower, this relationship has contributed to the acceptance of the UPI payment method throughout the European nations.
The Start of India and France Inking Deal to Foster Digital Payments
Last year, India and France took oath to maintain a robust ecosystem and establish partnerships that will enable their people and guarantee their full involvement in the digital era.
In July of the same year, the Indian Prime Minister declared that France and India had decided to adopt the UPI payment system and that it would start at the famous Eiffel Tower.
Indian visitors to France would now be able to pay with rupees, according to PM Modi.
While addressing the Indian community at La Seine Musicale in Paris on July 14, PM Modi said, "Be it India's UPI or other digital platforms, they have brought a huge social transformation in the country, and I am happy that India and France are also working together in direction. India and France have agreed to use UPI in France. Friends, in the coming days, its beginning will be made from the Eiffel Tower, which means that Indian tourists will now be able to make payments in Rupees, through UPI, at the Eiffel Tower."
PM Modi Explained How UPI Works to the French President Over a Cup of Tea
Recently, as the Chief Guest for the Republic Day Parade, French President Emmanuel Macron traveled to India. Macron and Prime Minister Narendra Modi engaged over a cup of tea at a tea stand during their visit to Jaipur. Macron made a payment there via UPI. Earlier, when the two leaders were visiting a local store while visiting Hawa Mahal in Jaipur, PM Modi gave Macron an explanation of the UPI digital payments system.
UPI Integration Marks a Strategic Move towards Collaboration between France and India
French-based payment management fintech Lyra Network states: “UPI integration in France is a transformative milestone.” The firm’s CEO and MD, Rajesh Desai, explains that “UPI’s introduction is a strategic move, fostering economic collaboration between India and France.”
“In 2024, Lyra Network aims to enter the global UPI arena, emphasizing POS and Switch solutions and collaborating with fintech, banks, government projects, and merchants while expanding our customer base,” he added.
UPI Goes Global
The Center announced in January of last year that non-resident Indians (NRIs) from ten nations may send and receive money using UPI provided their domestic bank accounts were connected to their international phone numbers.
Bhutan as the First Nation to Accept UPI Payments
Bhutan became the first nation to accept UPI payments through the BHIM App in July 2021. The Royal Monetary Authority (RMA) of Bhutan and NPCI International Payments Ltd (NIPL), the organization's worldwide branch, collaborated to enable and deploy BHIM UPI QR-based payments in Bhutan, according to NPCI.
In March 2022, Nepal implemented UPI for digital transactions. To implement UPI for interoperable real-time person-to-person (P2P) and merchant-payment transactions, NIPL struck agreements with Manam Infotech Private Limited and Gateway Payments Service Pvt Ltd, the authorized payment system operator in Nepal.
Oman and NPCI collaborated in October 2022 to integrate UPI with their payment system. The Central Bank of Oman (CBO) and the National Police Corps (NPCI) inked a formal agreement in this respect in November.
The goal of NIPL's April 2022 announcement was to enable millions of Indian tourists visiting the UAE to simply and safely make payments using BHIM UPI via NEOPAY terminals, the payment subsidiary of Mashreq Bank.
NIPL and the cross-border digital payments provider Liquid Group inked a contract that will allow QR-based UPI payments to be accepted in ten north and southeast Asian nations: Malaysia, Thailand, the Philippines, Vietnam, Singapore, Cambodia, Hong Kong, Taiwan, South Korea, and Japan. NIPL partnered with Merchantrade Asia Sdn. Bhd. is Malaysia's foremost fintech enterprise and the largest money services business operator, specifically to provide real-time remittances to India using the UPI platform.
In August 2022, the UK and India announced their intention to work together on transactions based on QR codes. To create a smooth payment solutions platform in the UK, NIPL partnered with PayXpert, a provider of payment solutions.
Credit cards typically come with a hefty cost, typically 3.5 percent plus GST, but users also receive reward points for their purchases. For a few chosen premium card goods, the costs are frequently reduced. But, customers may have the option to use UPI payments in places like Singapore's hawker markets, where credit cards are not always accepted. Without a doubt, UPI is safer and more convenient. Nevertheless, before UPI gains traction, its value proposition must be much stronger. For France, it is unclear yet whether the cost of the currency transaction in a UPI transaction will be more or less than that of a credit card transaction; nevertheless, in Singapore, the NPCI adds a markup to the exchange rate that the DBS gives. Customers can decide to use a credit card if the forex rates are good and there are extra bonuses, as it appears that they are dependent on the rate that the DBS offers.