Know Eligibility, Documents Required By Foreign Travellers To Use UPI In India

Know Eligibility, Documents Required By Foreign Travellers To Use UPI In India

The Unified Payments Interface (UPI) has emerged as one of the most widely-used payment methods for retail electronic transactions. The Reserve Bank of India (RBI) has recently extended the UPI facility for visitors from G20 countries for merchant transactions in the country.

“The Reserve Bank of India (RBI) had announced in the Statement on Developmental and Regulatory Policies dated February 08, 2023, a facility to enable all inbound travellers visiting India to make local payments using Unified Payments Interface (UPI) while they are in India,” the regulator said earlier this week.

Earlier, it was only Non-resident Indians (NRI) with foreign mobile phones connected to their NRE or NRO accounts who could access UPI.

Eligible international travellers will be issued prepaid payment instrumentation (PPI) wallets connected to UPI for use while making purchases at merchant establishments.

Which foreign travellers can use UPI?

This UPI feature has been made available to travellers from G-20 nations landing at specific international airports.

The Group of Twenty (G-20) comprises 19 countries (Argentina, Australia, Brazil, Canada, China, France, Germany, India, Indonesia, Italy, Japan, Republic of Korea, Mexico, Russia, Saudi Arabia, South Africa, Turkey, United Kingdom, and United States) and the European Union.

Where can travellers access the UPI facility?

International airports, including Bangalore, Mumbai, and New Delhi, will first provide the UPI payment option. The service is expected to soon roll out in other airports and cities, enabling visitors to India to enjoy the convenience of QR Code-based UPI payments.

Which banks are supporting this facility?

Initially, ICICI Bank, IDFC First Bank and two non-bank PPI issuers, Pine Labs Private Limited and Transcorp International Limited will issue UPI linked wallets.

 What are prepaid payment instruments (PPIs)?

Prepaid payment instruments are payment instruments that facilitate the purchase of goods and services against the value stored on such instruments. The value stored on such instruments represents the value paid for by the holder, by cash, by debit to a bank account, or by credit card., according to the RBI website.

RBI guidelines for Prepaid Payment Instruments (PPIs) to foreign nationals/non-resident Indians (NRIs) visiting India

1) Banks/non-banks authorised to offer PPIs may issue full-KYC PPIs in INR to foreign nationals/NRIs visiting India (to start with, this facility will be extended to travellers from the G-20 countries, arriving at select international airports). Such PPIs can also be issued in collaboration with organisations licenced to deal in foreign exchange under FEMA.

2) PPIs will be issued upon physical verification of the clients’ passports and visas at the site of issuance. According to the central bank, PPI issuers will ensure that such information and records are kept on file with them.

3) The PPIs can be issued in the form of wallets linked to UPI and can be used for merchant payments (P2M) only.

4) Loading or reloading of such PPIs will be against receipt of foreign exchange in cash or through any payment mechanism.

5) The conversion to the Indian rupee shall be carried out exclusively by firms authorised to trade in foreign exchange under FEMA, according to the RBI.

6) The amount outstanding in such PPIs at any time shall not exceed the limit applicable to full-KYC PPIs.

7) According to the central bank, unutilized balances in such PPIs can be paid in foreign currency or sent ‘back to source’ (payment source from which the PPI was loaded), in accordance with foreign exchange regulations.

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