The next time you wish to travel from New Delhi to the public gardens of Zurich or leave the streets of Mumbai for a walk down the streets of Amsterdam, you will have an easier and simpler time making online payments. This comes courtesy of the partnership between French payment company Worldline and NPCI International Payments Ltd (NIPL), which will bring unified payments interface (UPI) and RuPay payments in Europe. NIPL is the international arm of the National Payments Corporation of India (NPCI).
UPI will be available through point-of-sale terminals (PoS) as part of the agreement, and Worldline’s QR code-based method will allow merchants in Europe to accept UPI payments from Indians. They will be able to pay from their Indian bank accounts, as well as make payments via their RuPay debit or credit cards.
In the initial stages, UPI and RuPay will be expanded to Belgium, the Netherlands, Luxembourg, and Switzerland, before more countries are added to the list. For Indians who intend to travel to Europe and avail this expansion, they must have an Indian bank account with an UPI activated on their accounts, along with an app to make UPI payments, like Google Pay, Paytm, or the BHIM app.
Not only will this development mean that Indians no longer have to resort to international card networks to make digital payments and manage their expenses in Europe (which they are currently doing), but the expansion of UPI and RuPay into the Indian market has, in the long run, the potential for increased spending by Indians travelling in Europe. Europe is, after all, a very popular tourist destination for Indians – the pre-pandemic days saw approximately 10 million Indians travelling there each year, and Indians are well-versed in dealing with UPI – NPCI’s UPI recorded 38.74 billion transactions last year, which were worth a total of $954.58 billion.
“Our analyses of international customers’ payment behaviour have indicated a push away from international card schemes in recent times, and a preference for any mobile payment method they are acquainted. Our partnership with NPCI International seeks to mitigate the risk of excluding or limiting Indian customers from safely using electronic payments in the EU,” said Marc-Henri Desportes, Deputy CEO of Worldline.
“In Worldline, we found a partner that provides us with good coverage of the European markets as well as an advanced and universally applicable solution. The roll-out of acceptance of UPI-powered Apps and RuPay Cards across Europe is important to us, as we expect increased mobility of Indians in the continent in the coming years. We believe this partnership will empower Indian consumers to continue using their preferred payment modes as they travel across Europe,” said Ritesh Shukla, CEO, NIPL.
One thing to be noted is that any payments made by Indians using UPI in Europe will be charged in the local currency and not INR. This will attract a currency conversion charge levied by the banks, as it is in the case of card payments.