ICICI Bank announced on Monday that it has enabled NRI customers in the UAE and none other countries to use their international mobile number to make UPI (Unified Payments Interface) payments instantly in India.

The move by the leading Indian lender will significantly enhance NRIs convenience of making everyday payments.

Until now, an NRI will need a valid Indian mobile number to set up a UPI ID and use any UPI app.

Using their international mobile number linked to non-resident external (NRE) or non-resident ordinary (NRO) bank accounts held with ICICI Bank in India, the bank’s NRI customers can use this feature to pay for their utility bills, merchant and e-commerce transactions. The bank has made this service available through its mobile banking app, iMobile Pay.

In February, during Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s visit to the UAE, an agreement was reached to interlink their payment platforms and domestic debit or credit cards of the two countries. The development centred on linking instant payment platforms, UPI of India and AANI of the UAE. This followed the signing of a memorandum of understanding on interlinking payment and messaging systems in July last year during the PM’s visit to Abu Dhabi. Because of this interlinking, people can directly send and receive money between bank accounts in the two countries using just mobile phone numbers. Also, businesses can accept payments from each other’s countries instantly and securely, boosting trade and commerce.

ICICI Bank has leveraged on the international infrastructure laid down by National Payments Corporation of India (NPCI) for convenient usage of UPI across countries. The bank offers this facility across 10 countries including the UAE, Oman, Qatar and Saudi Arabia, the USA, the UK, Canada, Singapore, Australia and Hong Kong.

NRI customers can make UPI payments by scanning any Indian QR code, sending money to a UPI ID or any Indian mobile number or Indian bank account.

Sidharatha Mishra, head – Digital Channels and Partnerships, ICICI Bank said with this facility, NRI customers residing in 10 countries do not need to switch to an Indian mobile number to pay using UPI. “This launch reinforces our commitment to provide our NRI customers with innovative solutions, for them to have a safe, secure and hassle-free payment experience. We are witnessing a positive response from our NRI customers who have started using this facility. With this initiative, we intend to leverage on NPCI’s UPI Infrastructure in strengthening and transforming the digital payments ecosystem globally.”

UPI is a system that powers multiple bank accounts into a single mobile application (of any participating bank), merging several banking features, seamless fund routing & merchant payments into one hood.

UPI was developed by NPCI which was established by the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) and Indian Banks Association (IBA). It enables real time, person to merchant transactions, inter-bank peer to peer transactions.

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