Paytm claims 68 million UPI transactions on its platform in February


Digital payments firm Paytm says the number of Unified Payments Interface (UPI) transactions on its platform hit 68 million in February, up 33.3% from 51 million transactions in January.

Financial services platform Paytm on Friday announced that it had registered close to 68 million UPI transactions in February 2018.

In a statement, the company said it had registered close to 33 million transactions in December last year and 51 million transactions in January 2018 respectively. It attributed this growth to its vast user base, wide acceptability, and the network effect of multiple use cases.

At present, Paytm claims to have close to 6 million merchants on its platform.

Image Source: Paytm

Launched in Beta in December, it also stated that Paytm UPI IDs are also accepted across all banks and BHIM UPI apps. Paytm claims to have fully launched its UPI feature in January. Promoted and developed by the National Payments Corporation of India (NPCI), UPI was launched in December 2016. It is built on top of the Immediate Payment Service (IMPS) architecture, and is used by banks to process payments instantly.

Speaking on the development, Deepak Abbot, Senior Vice President at Paytm, said,

“Paytm is the largest mobile payments ecosystem in the country, and we are seeing exponential growth. Paytm UPI is a part of our efforts to make money transfers simpler, and bring convenient mobile payments to new and existing consumers across India.”

Inflating transaction numbers?

In January, payments player PhonePe’s founder Sameer Nigam had, in a series of tweets on micro-blogging site Twitter, alleged that Paytm’s UPI volumes (for December 2017) were inflated with Rs 1 cashbacks.

He had written then,

“I love @UPI_NPCI. But the 145 million transaction count is badly polluted. 6.3 million UPI P2P transfers between Paytm VPAs to Yes Bank VPAs. Sounds impressive. But 5.6 million (90%!!!) transfers were for Rs 1 each. And only 60,000 distinct Paytm users did the transfers. That’s 105 transactions of Rs 1 per user!”

At that time, PhonePe claimed to process close to 22 million UPI transactions from 4.7 million unique customers.

However, a source told YourStory that the UPI feature was fully launched only in January on Paytm and it wasn’t giving any cashbacks on low-value transactions below Rs 50 since mid- January.

But, not just Paytm, even internet conglomerate Google’s payment offering Tez has come under the scanner for beefing up its transaction numbers by giving scratch cards and cashbacks.

On condition of anonymity, the company had then stated,

“These scratch cards are like cashbacks. They helped Google double transactions by crediting consumer accounts with the amount they won through these scratch cards (which a customer receives after making a transaction).”

According to data from the NPCI, the total transactions over UPI in February 2018 were close to 171 million, while the total number of transactions in January 2018 and December 2017 stood at 151.8 million and 145.6 million respectively.

Just last month, WhatsApp Payments also started its beta testing in India. At that time, Paytm had alleged that the NPCI had supported WhatsApp for its launch and softened its stance by flouting its own circulars.

Speaking to YourStory then, Deepak Abbot had said,

“Technically the WhatsApp interface is interoperable, but the UX seems to be completely hinting that transactions are between WhatsApp to WhatsApp only. So why this distinction for a bigger player?”

Violations raised by industry players included that WhatsApp (like other UPI apps in Beta) needs to have a request function and pay through QR code even in Beta, which it lacked. Another feature that UPI apps in Beta are mandatory to have is a logging out function, which WhatsApp lacked.

To this, the NPCI had in a statement said that it would ensure that WhatsApp followed all UPI guidelines before its launch.