Purab to Pashchim: How India's UPI is Transforming Global Payments?

India's UPI has transformed inter-bank transactions in India and now UPI is going global! Explore this narrative to trace UPI's remarkable journey as it transcends borders, making its mark on the global stage.

Shreshtha Verma
New Update

In a tale fit for the silver screen, India, the land that once bestowed upon the world the concept of zero, is now poised to dazzle with another historic masterpiece - the Unified Payment Interface (UPI). Just as the iconic song by Manoj Kumar, portraying the patriotic character Bharat in the movie Purab Aur Pashchim (1970), declares, "Jab zero diya mere Bharat ne," India has transformed into not merely the origin of the mathematical zero but the homeland of digital heroes in the world of digital payments!

Picture this: In 2016, a groundbreaking innovation was born, transforming India's financial landscape from cash-centric to technologically powered. UPI emerged as the leading star, turning India into a global leader in real-time payments infrastructure.

But the story doesn't end there; it's just the opening scene. Today, UPI stands as the undisputed hero of digital payments, captivating audiences with its free, safe, swift, seamless, flexible, and convenient features.

So, let's take a front-row seat and witness the journey of UPI payments from Purab to Paschim.

Facts about UPI

  • On average, each UPI transaction amounts to ₹1,849.
  • A staggering 2,348 transactions occur every second as of 2022.
  • The UPI ecosystem has onboarded 360 banks, collectively processing a monthly volume of 6.7 billion transactions, with a total value exceeding ₹11.16 trillion as of September 2022.
  • In the fiscal year 2023, UPI facilitated transactions worth a staggering $1.7 trillion, with merchant payments accounting for $380 billion.
  • May 2023 marked a milestone with a record 9 billion transactions valued at ₹14 lakh crore.

    Furthermore, the number of monthly UPI transactions soared by over 58% year-on-year in May 2023, setting new records in both volume and value.

Cross Border Payments With UPI

India's indigenous UPI solution is steadily conquering international shores, with countries worldwide adopting this digital marvel. This expansion has led to a surge in cross-border transactions, benefiting Indian travelers abroad who can now navigate payments with ease. Notably, countries like France, Bhutan, Nepal, Oman, UAE, Vietnam, Singapore, Cambodia, Hong Kong, Taiwan, the United Kingdom, and Europe have opened their arms to UPI payments.

Moreover, India's digital payment ecosystem has attracted global attention, with 13 countries, including Malaysia, Thailand, Philippines, South Korea, and Japan, expressing their intent to embrace UPI for their digital payment systems. Nepal has already taken the lead by adopting UPI as its payment platform, setting an example for the world.

This surge in transaction volumes reinforces UPI's global presence, showcasing the success of India's "Make-in-India" innovative payment solution. Travelers now enjoy the convenience of seamless UPI transactions wherever they go, contributing to the Digital India initiative.


Even Non-Resident Indians (NRIs) are reaping the benefits of UPI's reach, with integration into global financial systems such as Western Union. This integration allows NRIs and expatriate Indians to send and receive money with unprecedented ease.

Linking RuPay Credit Cards to UPI

The integration of RuPay credit cards with UPI marks a revolutionary step in the digital payments landscape, offering consumers the best of both worlds.

With millions of Indians already using UPI apps for online transactions, the ability to link credit cards to UPI elevates consumer convenience to new heights. No more physical cards are needed, especially in areas where POS terminals are scarce.

This integration is not limited to RuPay; the goal is to extend it to other cards, broadening the customer base and enhancing security by putting card data in users' hands. This transformation also encourages cashless transactions by leveraging credit lines, rather than drawing from savings accounts.

Additionally, it mitigates risks associated with skimming at POS terminals or physical card loss, bolstering transaction security. The RBI's approval to link RuPay credit cards with UPI empowers consumers with enhanced payment options, convenience, and security, propelling India towards a cashless and digitally inclusive economy.

Offline Payments – UPI 123Pay

In a world dominated by smartphones, the introduction of UPI 123Pay was a groundbreaking development catering to feature phone users. Despite the smartphone era, many Indians still rely on feature phones. Recognizing this, the RBI's UPI 2.0 extension brought forth an innovative solution independent of phone type or internet connectivity.

Ushering in greater financial inclusion, UPI 123Pay allows feature phone users to engage in digital transactions through multiple approaches, including Interactive Voice Response (IVR), a feature phone-based app, missed calls, or proximity sound payment methods. Accessible in regional languages, it has significantly increased its user base, particularly in rural regions.

This feature promises a profound shift towards digital payments in India, offering simplicity and potential for widespread adoption, even in areas where regional languages prevail.

UPI AUTOPAY – Recurring Payments

Revolutionizing recurring payments, UPI Autopay streamlines the authorization and management of pre-approved debits from users' bank accounts. Users can set up one-time authentication for automatic payments, sparing them from further involvement in the payment process.

This versatility spans various use cases, including utility bills, online subscriptions, loan EMIs, insurance premiums, and more. By simplifying payments, UPI Autopay ensures timely and seamless transactions, granting users convenience and peace of mind.

UPI One World – Empowering Foreign Travelers

With UPI One World, the RBI has opened new possibilities for foreign travelers in India, enabling seamless payments across all merchant outlets accepting QR-based UPI payments. Initially available for tourists from G-20 countries, these wallets will be accessible at select Indian airports, with further plans to extend this feature to all foreign nationals visiting India.

The ever-evolving UPI ecosystem continues to reshape India's digital payments landscape, driving financial inclusion and accelerating the nation's progress towards a cashless economy. India, once the originator of zero, now stands as a hero in the world of digital payments, with UPI leading the way into a brighter, more connected future.