16 January 2023
NRIs permitted to avail UPI service linked to NRE/NRO accounts
The concept of a Unified Payments Interface (UPI) was first introduced in August 2016, which powered multiple bank accounts into a single mobile application (of any participating bank) and merged several banking features, seamless fund routing, and merchant payments under a single system. This system is unique only to India that allows instant real-time settlements to facilitate inter-bank transactions through mobile phones.

Any resident Indian with an Indian contact number and bank account could generate a UPI ID and use that UPI ID while transacting from various apps available in the ecosystem. However, NRIs having an international number were excluded from the service of UPI for their NRO (*Non-Resident Ordinary)/ NRE (*Non-Resident External) account.

Recently, the National Payments Corporation India (NPCI) vide Circular No. NPCI/UPI/OC/161/2022-23 dated 10 January 2023 has brought uniformity in the concept of UPI, wherein NRIs from 10 countries will soon be able to make UPI payments through their NRO/NRE account without having an Indian mobile number.

The member banks have been advised to comply with the circular by 30 April 2023.
On-boarding of NRE/NRO accounts having international mobile numbers
Sr. No. Particulars
1. Member Banks must ensure that such accounts are only allowed as per the FEMA (Foreign Exchange Management Act) regulations and they must adhere to all the guidelines/instructions issued by the RBI (Reserve Bank of India).
2. The remitter/beneficiary banks must ensure the necessary checks under Anti-Money Laundering (AML)/Combating of Financing Terrorism (CFT) and further ensure compliance in validating the accounts.
3. On-boarding and transaction-level checks such as cooling period, risk rules, etc. as per the UPI guidelines will be applicable to such accounts.
Country codes allowed

For now, the NPCI will roll out the services for the following countries/country codes and shall extend the same to other countries/country codes in near future.
Sr. No. Country Name Country Code
1. Singapore +65
2. Australia +61
3. Canada +1
4. Hong Kong +852
5. Oman +968
6. Qatar +974
7. The United States of America +1
8. Saudi Arabia +966
9. The United Arab Emirates +971
10. The United Kingdom +44

*NRO (Non-Resident Ordinary): An NRO account is a bank account opened in India in the name of a Non-Resident Indian to manage the income earned by them in India.

*NRE (Non- Resident External): An NRE account is a bank account opened in India in the name of a Non-Resident Indian to store their foreign earnings.
Our Comments
  1. The RBI had introduced a 'Rupee Settlement System' to enable the use of the UPI technology and strengthen the Indian Rupee's image as a 'Global Currency'. This recent update from NPCI is aligned to the same.
  2. Opening up the UPI system to some of the important trade partners of India is a significant breakthrough for Indian technology and will strengthen India's role in the global economy.
  3. This system will enable NRIs who were earlier purely dependent on cards/cash while in India to seamlessly make payments at outlets, make transfers, and investments via the UPI system.
The circular link is given for your ready reference.
USA | Canada | Poland | UAE | India | Hong Kong | Japan
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