Amazon testing its own UPI handle for new payments product: Report

Amazon testing its own UPI handle for new payments product: Report
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The payments arm of Amazon India has started testing its native unified payments interface (UPI) handle with a closed user group, according to a report in a financial daily.

The Economic Times, which reported the development citing two unnamed bankers, said that the company has been testing the payments service with a restricted user group.

While Amazon allows payments to be made via UPI, it does not have its own handle. It can issue its own handle via a proprietary virtual payment address (VPA), for which it needs to partner with a bank. According to ET, Amazon is working with Axis Bank to develop this product.

Axis Bank did not respond to e-mail queries from TechCircle on this partnership at the time of publishing this report.

Update: On February 14, Amazon announced the rollout of UPI-based payments on Amazon Pay for Android users.

 It said that users could also shop on using a UPI ID, apart from making bill payments, recharges and recurring payments.

“In our continuous effort to make shopping more secure and convenient, Amazon Pay has enabled BHIM UPI as a payment option for its customers who can now use any of their existing UPI IDs to make fast, friction-free payments for their orders. We are very excited with our progress on BHIM UPI and continue to look for ways to increase adoption,” an Amazon spokesperson said without providing further details.

The development comes in the backdrop of the Reserve Bank of India's directive, issued in April 2018, asking global payments firms to store local user data in the country. The Apex banking body gave the firm's six months to comply with the directive.

In October, the RBI refused to extend the deadline for companies to adhere to this directive. 

Not just Amazon but several global majors such as Facebook-owned WhatsApp and iPhone maker Apple were affected by this move.

While Apple has shelved its plans for a UPI-based payment service, WhatsApp had delayed its plans to commercially roll out its payments service, which is currently in beta. However, WhatsApp has built a system to store payments-related data locally in India.

While the global payments players are yet to have their own UPI handles, various banks and homegrown payments firms already have them. Digital payments platform MobiKwik and Paytm offer their users the option of creating their own VPAs with @paytm and @ikwik, respectively, instead of using @upi.