The UPI (Unified Payments Interface) Autopay technology has revolutionized the digital payments sector in India, and even though it has been just over a year since this technology came out, it is already hard to remember a time when we did not have access to this simplified yet effective technology. While its growth has been slow so far, it is becoming mainstream as streaming service giants such as Hotstar and Netflix are rolling out the UPI Autopay feature in the country.

Netflix announced that they were launching this feature at the beginning of this month, saying that this would allow customers to pay for their monthly Netflix subscription using their UPI AutoPay. Additionally, anyone signing up for a Netflix account from August 31 would have to use that feature in order to pay for their monthly subscription.

Apart from Netflix and Hotstar, which has gone live on UPI Autopay as well, digital payments apps PhonePe and Google Pay, along with at least 100 other online merchants across numerous categories (including streaming, financial services, wealth management, news media, and education) are in various stages of rolling out and testing the UPI Autopay feature as well. In fact, PhonePe has already introduced a UPI-based Autopay feature this August to enable customers to set up automatic Systematic Investment Plan (SIP) payments for their mutual fund investments.

“UPI is already the most preferred digital payments option for consumers and merchants alike,” a Google Pay spokesperson said. “The UPI Autopay functionality is an important addition which we are working with players across the ecosystem — including banks, merchants, etc.— to enable end-to-end for UPI and Google Pay users.”

What does the UPI Autopay feature do? It allows its users to make recurring transactions below ₹5,000 through various UPI apps instead of sophisticated and expensive card-based mandates. It can be used to pay include loans and rent, educational fees and subscriptions, and others.

The Autopay feature is touted to be a gamechanger for small businesses since it allows them to have a customizable debit agreement with customers through one-time consent, and the mobile-native design of UPI makes it easier for merchants to send pre-debit notifications to customers for these transactions.

While most merchants have been hesitant in opening up to UPI ever since its debut, only bank UPI apps such as those of SBI, HDFC Bank, ICICI Bank and Paytm Payments Bank were using the feature. State Bank of India, Paytm Payments Bank, and Bank of Baroda are the three top banks live on UPI Autopay, having registered 660,000, 204,000, and 186,000 mandates, respectively, in August.

This news comes ahead of the new RBI rules regarding recurring payments through debit and credit cards.