The Unified Payment Interface (UPI) can be thought of like an email ID for your money. It will be an unique identifier that your bank uses to transfer money and make payments using the IMPS (Immediate Payments Service). IMPS is faster than NEFT and lets you transfer money immediately and unlike NEFT, it works 24×7. This means that the online payments will become much easier without requiring a digital wallet or credit or debit card.
Currently, if you want to make a bank payment online, you have to enter their account number, account type, Bank name and IFSC code. Even if you have all these details, typing it all in, particularly on a phone, is a painful process. Most banks take upto 12 hours to add a new payee and only then you can make the transfer.
The idea behind the UPI is to do away with all of this. The interface will allow account holders across banks to send and receive money from their smartphones using just their Aadhaar unique identity number, mobile phone number or virtual payments address without entering bank account details.
According to NPCI, so far only 29 banks have agreed to start this service. If your bank is UPI-enabled, you can ask it to connect you to the system. To initiate a transaction, you can use two types of address—global or local. Global address includes your mobile, Aadhaar and bank account numbers. A local address can be a virtual address. Let’s say your bank gives you a virtual ID similar to your email ID (for instance, name@companyname). This virtual address will allow you to send and receive money from multiple banks and prepaid payment issuers.