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Why NPCI did not invite Google, PhonePe and Paytm for its meeting on UPI


The National Payments Corporation of India (NPCI), the government-owned body that governs the Unified Payments Interface (UPI), reportedly held a meeting to discuss ways to empower new players in the

UPI ecosystem

. According to a report in Economic Times, several new third-party payments apps on UPI are being nudged by


to invest and incentivise consumers.

Recent entrants like




, Fampay, Zomato, Groww and Flipkart are said to be looking to acquire users and get them to adapt to the in-house UPI service.
Notably, major players like

Google Pay



, and


were not invited to this meeting. Reason: The three companies control over 90% of both UPI transaction volume and value. According to sources, NPCI aimed to gather insights from stakeholders on how to create a more level playing field for smaller third-party application providers (TPAPs).
While PhonePe and Google Pay have been market leaders, recent disruption at Paytm — after the central bank order asking the company to on shut down its payments bank services — has further led to more concentration of users between the top two apps.

What new UPI players want
The ET report said that that participants in the meeting advocated for incentive programs similar to the government’s zero Merchant Discount Rate (MDR) scheme for RuPay cards. This scheme offers benefits to merchants who accept RuPay payments, making them more competitive compared to other cards. Similarly, attendees proposed incentive structures to encourage users towards adopting UPI platforms offered by smaller players.

Concerns raised by the new UP players
Another concern raised was the dominance of PhonePe, Google Pay, and Paytm in app interfaces. Many merchant apps and websites prioritize these three platforms during checkout, relegating other UPI options to a generic “other UPI apps” category. NPCI reportedly clarified that merchants have the discretion to choose how UPI options are displayed.
The meeting also addressed the issue of brand recognition. Smaller players reportedly requested more promotional support from NPCI to enhance their visibility. Additionally, NPCI urged these platforms to consider offering cashback programs to attract consumers.
While discussions aimed to address the dominance of major players, reports indicate no clear solutions emerged regarding how to mitigate concentration risk within the UPI ecosystem. The current deadline for implementing a 30% cap on UPI transactions is the end of this calendar year.

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