Western Union harnesses India's UPI for real-time remittances

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Western Union has gone live with a service enabling real-time cross-border remittances to India harnessing Unified Payments Interface, the central bank’s payment rails.

Denver-based Western Union is the first money transfer provider enabling customers to send funds to Indian recipients’ bank accounts using the UPI ID instead of bank account and routing details, Western Union said in a Friday press release.

Yes Bank is one of the banks collaborating with Western Union to facilitate real-time funds transfers to India, the release said.

Initially the UPI service is available only to senders at Western Union’s walk-in centers. Beginning next year Western Union plans to make real-time UPI-based remittances for U.S. senders available through its website and mobile app, with those capabilities available to global senders over time, according to the release.

“We are expanding from our roots of creating one of the largest physical money movement networks covering the first and last mile in India to pioneering integration with India’s advanced real-time payments systems,” said Hikmet Ersek, Western Union’s CEO, in the release.

The Reserve Bank of India’s National Payments Corporation launched UPI in August 2016 for domestic payments, and it has seen strong adoption by mobile payment providers including Paytm, Google Pay and BHIM. The maximum amount for an inbound UPI remittance is INR 100,000 (US$1,500), according to the release.

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Cross border payments Real-time payments Western Union India
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