NRIs Can Now Use Their International Mobile Numbers To Make UPI Payments: How NRIs Can Use UPI?

Customers cannot transfer funds from India to foreign countries using UPI but can receive funds from foreign countries while staying in India.
NRIs Can Now Use Their International Mobile Numbers To Make UPI
NRIs Can Now Use Their International Mobile Numbers To Make UPI

ICICI Bank on Tuesday announced that it has enabled NRI customers to use their international mobile number to make UPI payments instantly in India, thereby significantly enhancing their convenience of making everyday payments, according to a press statement issued by ICICI Bank. With this facility, the NRI customers of the bank can make payments for their utility bills, and merchant and e-commerce transactions with their international mobile number registered with their non-resident external account (NRE) / non-resident ordinary (NRO) bank account held with ICICI Bank in India. The bank has made this service available through its mobile banking app, iMobile Pay. Earlier, NRIs had to register an Indian mobile number with their banks to make UPI payments.

To bring forth this facility, ICICI Bank has leveraged the international infrastructure laid down by the National Payments Corporation of India (NPCI) for convenient usage of UPI across countries. The Bank offers this facility across 10 countries namely the USA, UK, UAE, Canada, Singapore, Australia, Hong Kong, Oman, Qatar, and Saudi Arabia.NRI customers of the Bank can make UPI payments by scanning any Indian QR code and sending money to a UPI ID or any Indian mobile number or Indian bank account.

Below are easy steps to activate the UPI facility on international mobile numbers using iMobile Pay:

Step 1: Log in to the iMobile Pay app

Step 2: Click on ‘UPI Payments’

Step 3: Verify Mobile Number

Step 4: Click on Manage –> My Profile

Step 5: Create a new UPI ID (select from the suggested options)

Step 6: Select the Account Number -> Submit

How Will This Move Benefit The NRIs?

Says Rahul Jain - CFO, NTT DATA Payment Services India: “Examining the methodology, it becomes apparent that NRIs face considerable challenges in managing both an Indian and a local domestic number. Consequently, they tend to carry only a local domestic number, reflecting their residency status. In many instances, when attempting a UPI transaction or registration, the system restricts registration to an Indian domestic number. However, recent developments have enabled NRI customers to utilize their international mobile numbers for instant UPI payments within India. This advancement facilitates their registration as UPI customers, especially since many NRIs hold Indian accounts, granting them permission to employ their international numbers for UPI transactions.”

For NRIs residing in countries like the US or Dubai, who own property in India and require payment for utilities such as electricity or gas, the process is significantly simplified through UPI-enabled mobile applications. Additionally, person-to-person transfers are streamlined without the need for additional registrations, as payments can be executed seamlessly through UPI transactions.

“This enhancement significantly improves visibility for NRIs in executing domestic transactions through their NRI accounts, a process previously reliant on alternative channels such as net banking. An observed trend is that many NRIs visiting India express interest in using UPI, yet are hindered by restrictions on their mobile numbers. However, with their international numbers now registered for UPI, NRIs can effortlessly navigate the country cashlessly using UPI,” adds Jain.

According to experts, this move would benefit overseas families, international students, and local businesses. In terms of volume, this facility will transform the instant real-time payment system into more of a peer-to-merchant transaction than peer-to-peer. NRIs can use UPI payments simply by linking their NRE and NRO accounts to their international SIM. No additional charges would be imposed on the accountholders.

Disadvantages: “There are usage restrictions—up to Rs 1 lakh, they can execute any transaction—unless there is a circular from the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) to banks stating that NRIs are not allowed to transact for more than this value. However, I don’t think such a restriction has been imposed yet,” adds Jain.

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