With Europe being one of the most recent areas to accept India's payment systems, India is making considerable progress in developing the worldwide network of its digital payment systems like RuPay, UPI (Unified Payments Interface), etc.

France, the United Arab Emirates (UAE), Saudi Arabia, Bahrain, Singapore, the Maldives, Bhutan, and Oman are among the nations that have accepted various Indian payment methods. This suggests that Indians will now be able to transact in these nations via UPI, etc.

Union Minister Ashwini Vaishnaw stated [February 13, 2023] that India had signed memoranda of understanding (MoUs) with 13 nations that want to adopt the UPI interface for digital payments and that Singapore has finished its UPI integration. She was speaking on the sidelines of the G20 digital economy working group meeting in Lucknow.

These international alliances have been formed as the NIPL (NPCI International Payments Limited) develops alliances with various nations to create a vast acceptance network for RuPay and UPI, enabling Indian travelers to make payments through these channels in the country where they are traveling. In order to implement RuPay and UPI outside of India, NIPL was established in April 2020 as a fully-owned subsidiary of the National Payments Corporation of India (NPCI).

Additionally, India has announced UPI access for NRIs in 10 other countries whose Indian bank accounts are connected to foreign cell phones as well as foreign visitors arriving to India - at specific international airports initially - in line with its objectives to grow the digital economy.

The Reserve Bank of India suggested on February 8, 2023, to allow foreigners traveling to India to utilize UPI for retail payments (also known as P2M transactions).

Travelers from G20 nations will first be able to use this UPI feature when they arrive at specific international airports. Argentina, Australia, Brazil, Canada, China, France, Germany, India, Indonesia, Italy, Japan, the Republic of Korea, Mexico, Russia, Saudi Arabia, South Africa, Turkey, the United Kingdom, the United States, and the European Union are the 19 nations that make up the Group of Twenty (G20).

Additionally, the central bank clarified that going forward, this service will be made available at all other nation entry points. Soon, the necessary operational instructions will be released.

India and Russia are now holding high-level negotiations to devise methods to make cross-border payments easier. This covers both countries' markets accepting payments made using RuPay (India) and Mir (Russia) cards in Indian rupees and Russian markets.

The relationship between India's UPI system and the Bank of Russia's Faster Payments System (FPS) is also being investigated.

Russian authorities have also talked about India using the Services Bureau of Financial Messaging System of the Bank of Russia to send money across international borders.

The progress achieved in connecting Thailand's Prompt Pay Service and India's UPI was discussed at the 13th meeting of the India-Thailand Joint Trade Committee (JTC).

Thailand is a significant trading partner in Southeast Asia, making up 16% of all commerce between India and the area. 

Another popular location for Indian tourists traveling abroad is Thailand. Over 11 million international visitors came to Thailand last year, and nearly a million of them were Indian, making India the second-largest source of tourists to Thailand after Malaysia in 2022.

  • Singapore

The cross-border real-time payment systems connection was inaugurated at 11 a.m. on Monday (February 20), according to reporting from the Hindustan Times, under the direction of RBI governor Shaktikanta Das and MAS managing director Ravi Menon. Prime Ministers Lee Hsien Loong of Singapore and Narendra Modi of India virtually attended the inaugural event.

Indian citizens can now conduct business with Singaporeans using payment tools like Google Pay that are linked to a mobile phone number and use the UPI interface.

  • Nepal

The first foreign nation to use UPI as a payment platform was Nepal. NIPL collaborated with Bengaluru-based Manam Infotech and Nepal's licensed payment system operator, Gateway Payments Service (GPS). As a digital public benefit, UPI will be implemented in Nepal to provide interoperable real-time P2P and P2M payment transactions.

  • Bahrain

Bahrain has shown interest in setting up a payment integration system similar to the PayNow linkages in Singapore and India. Initial negotiations have taken place, and the  Gulf monarchy has made it plain that fintech is a top priority.

  • Bhutan

Bhutan is the first nation to use the UPI standards developed in India for its rapid response (QR) code. Additionally, it is the second nation after Singapore to have merchant locations accept BHIM-UPI. UPI was made available to the Royal Monetary Authority of Bhutan on July 13, 2021. India's digital payment system, BHIM (Bharat Interface for Money), utilizes UPI, a platform that unifies various bank accounts into a single smartphone application.

  • Europe

In order to increase the adoption of Indian payment channels throughout Europe, NIPL has partnered with the European payment services facilitator Worldline. The cooperation would enable merchants' Point-of-Sale (PoS) systems in Europe to accept UPI payments from Indians using their mobile phones due to Worldline's QR code-based technology.

Customers from India will eventually be able to pay with their RuPay debit or credit cards in Europe. This action would improve the customer-related advantages available to European businesses owing to a rise in foot traffic and expenditure from Indian visitors, in addition to enabling Indians to travel without any hassle and enjoy a smooth payment infrastructure.

According to NIPL's news release, it will focus on markets like Switzerland and BENELUX (Belgium, the Netherlands, and Luxembourg). With the introduction of Worldline QR in more European nations, it will grow even more.

  • UK

On September 22, 2022, TerraPay, a major worldwide payments infrastructure firm, announced its cooperation with NIPL in order to further improve its cross-border payment solutions. By utilizing TerraPay's flexible infrastructure and the UPI network, this cooperation aims to make it possible for Indian consumers and merchants in India with an active UPI ID to make and receive cross-border payments conveniently.

  • Oman

Indian workers and professionals benefit from the smooth digital remittances made possible in Oman by the Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) between the Central Bank of Oman (CBO) and NIPL which was signed in October 2022.

According to the Indian Embassy in Oman, there are about 624,000 Indians in Oman, of which about 483,901 are workers and professionals as of May 2021.

  • France

India and France have decided to introduce India's UPI payment system in France, starting with the Eiffel Tower, according to an announcement made by Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi on July 13, 2023. This action will make it possible for Indian visitors visiting France to pay in rupees, which will be a big improvement for two-way trade and tourism.

Notably, an MoU was inked in 2022 between the NPCI and Lyra, France's safe online payment system, strengthening the foundation for easy and secure digital transactions between India and France.

  • UAE

An agreement to integrate the messaging and payment systems of India and the UAE was reached on July 15, 2023. By integrating India's UPI with the UAE's Instant Payment Platform (IPP), which was signed by the respective Federal Bank governors of both nations, the MoU would make cross-border transactions more effective. The IPP is the UAE's real-time payment system, whereas the UPI is the one used in India.

In the UAE, NIPL collaborated with LuLu Financial Holding, Mashreq Bank, and Network International earlier in 2022 to make UPI payments possible. UPI was introduced to the nation on April 21, 2022, using Mashreq's NeoPay.

According to a circular issued by the NPCI on January 10, 2023, UPI platforms will be permitted to add non-resident account holders (NRE/NRO accounts) from ten countries who have international mobile numbers if they meet specific requirements. While NRO accounts enable NRIs to manage their money received in India, NRE accounts are used to transfer overseas earnings to India.

Along with preventing money laundering and terrorism funding, their banks must make sure the NRE/NRO accounts adhere to Foreign Exchange Management Act (FEMA) laws and recommendations as published from time to time by the Reserve Bank of India (RBI).

This implies that NRIs will not need an Indian phone number in order to transact over UPI systems in these specified countries. It will benefit local companies, family members living overseas, and foreign students.

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