India is fast becoming the global ransomware capital, says NPCI CEO

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India is said to be fast becoming the global ransomware capital, with mounting cases of cyber-attacks, and the only way to reduce them substantially is to tokenize all payment mechanisms, regardless of high initial costs, Dilip Asbe, CEO of NPCI, tells Ashwin Manikandan and MC Govardhana Rangan.

Dominance of a few players may not be in the best interest and there is a need to raise competition, Asbe said in the exclusive interaction.

Edited excerpts:

The Unified Payments Interface has recorded over 3 billion transactions a month in July and August for the first time. This is a doubling of growth in a year. What is driving this?

Our focus has been on enabling specific use cases. With the support of SEBI, we are nearing 50% of total retail IPO applications using UPI. It is helping expand investments, especially among the younger generations. Similarly, the AutoPay (recurring mandates) solution is gaining traction, and Netflix, Hotstar are in the initial stages of going live. e-RUPI has just been launched. We now have customers of more than 200 banks using the UPI platform, and we intend to roll this out to clients of 500 banks.

There have been discussions about payment failures. How effective has NPCI been in bringing down transaction failure rates since last year?

With the regulatory support, we now have multiple daily settlements including the weekends on all our systems including the card payments – the first of its kind in the world. This reduces settlement risks significantly and allows banks and others to put more volumes on NPCI systems. Last year, we saw an incredible increase in digital transactions. To manage this increased volume efficiently, NPCI, banks, with the dashboard published by Meity and the regulator have increased the capacity of core platforms. If you see month on month, the transaction failures have reduced substantially, and recent volume growth is proof of the pudding.

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