The National Payments Corporation of India (NPCI) on Thursday raised nearly Rs 82 crore by way of private placement of 4.63 per cent of its equity shares to 19 new banks, non-banking entities and the parent companies of payment systems aggregators.
“This broad basing exercise was done to further diversify and distribute the NPCI shareholding to a larger set of the RBI (Reserve Bank of India) regulated entities and categories of payment industry participants. NPCI made an offer for the private placement to 131 RBI regulated entities, out of which 19 evinced interest and were allotted shares in NPCI,” the not-for-profit initiative, which runs and manages the Unified Payments Interface (UPI), said.
Though traditional banks such as the State Bank of India, Union Bank of India, Punjab National Bank, Canara Bank, HDFC Bank and ICICI Bank remain the bigger players for now, other older players such as Standard Chartered Bank, Dhanlaxmi Bank, and IDFC First Bank have found seats at the expanded table. New entrants to the banking system such as Suryoday Small Finance Bank and Capital Small Finance Bank are also in the expanded list of NPCI, which now has 67 shareholders.
The entry of non-banking and parent companies of digital payment companies such as Paytm Payments Bank, One Mobikwik Systems Private, Amazon Pay Indian Private, PhonePe Private and Pine Labs may give these players a shot at deciding the future shape of UPI and digital payments in India.
This comes at a time when the NPCI and digital payment companies have disagreed with each other on several key policy issues, with the latest being the cap on the total volume of payments that can be done by any one player on the UPI platform.
Earlier this month, even as Facebook-owned WhatsApp got the nod to roll out its UPI payments service to its 400-million strong user base, the NPCI issued a directive asking third party UPI providers to cap the total number of transactions on their platform to 30 per cent of the total volume of transactions. The move came a week after the total number of transactions on the UPI platform had crossed 2 billion a month in October. In a statement , NPCI said the move was aimed to help address the risks to the UPI platform and protect the ecosystem.
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