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Amazon starts closed user-group testing of UPI pay platform

BENGALURU: Amazon’s efforts to issue its own Unified Payments Interface (UPI) handles in India has entered the closed-user-group stage, where the company is testing the payments product within a restricted user base, according to two bankers. The American ecommerce firm is working with private sector lender Axis Bank on the product, they said.

ET had reported on August 6 that Amazon’s plans to enter UPI payments had hit the data localisation hurdle, since the Reserve Bank of India had stipulated that payments data should be stored in India only. UPI plans of WhatsApp are understood to have got stuck because of this hurdle. While Amazon already accepts UPI payments, it cannot issue its own handles. But if its plans go through, it can start issuing its own handles as well. It would join the list of other prepaid payment instruments or PPI licence holders such as FreeCharge and MobiKwik, that have jumped onto the UPI bandwagon over the past one year.

Amazon would have to undergo an audit of where it is storing all the payments data before it can go live with the product, a senior banker told ET on condition of anonymity. As of now, the company is just testing the payments instrument. “We are committed to the long-term vision of a less-cash India and continue to invest in experiences which reduce customer friction, improve affordability and foster everyday habits, thereby building preference for digital payments,” an Amazon spokesperson said in response to a query emailed by ET. Axis Bank did not respond to ET’s queries. Amazon joins global companies such as Google, WhatsApp and Truecaller that have put their bets on the UPI business in partnership with banks.

“The relevance of standalone wallets is waning and further with the compulsory KYC (know-your-customer) norms of wallet holders the space has become expensive to operate in,” said another senior banker, who did not wish to be identified.
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