What is e-RUPI? How to use e-RUPI, Who can offer e-RUPI service?

e-RUPI is set to become a game-changer in the digital payments space. Here are the answers to 5 important questions about e-RUPI, India’s digital payment solution.

What is e-RUPI

e-RUPI was launched in India by the National Payments Corporation of India (NPCI) as a digital payments solution. It is a contactless and cashless digital voucher that will play a vital role in digital benefit transfer (DBT). This initiative was jointly developed by the National Health Authority, Ministry of Health and Family Welfare, and the Department of Financial Services. 

1. What is e-RUPI?

e-RUPI is an electronic, contactless and cashless pre-paid digital payment system launched by the Government of India to ensure that welfare subsidies reach the eligible beneficiaries without delay and without intermediaries. These are in the form of digital vouchers and are delivered to mobile phones. 

2. How and where will e-RUPI be used?

e-RUPI digital vouchers are delivered to beneficiaries in the form of a QR code or via SMS. These are person- and purpose-specific vouchers that cannot be converted to cash or transferred to another person. What's more, one does not require access to net banking, or a digital payment app to be installed on the phone.

At present, e-RUPI is being used to extend health benefits to eligible Indians. NPCI has tied up with 1600 hospitals in this regard. Though it is currently being used to inoculate people against the COVID-19 pandemic, it is likely to be extended to offer other relief initiatives, subsidies, etc in the future.

3. Who can offer e-RUPI service?

Currently, the Indian government has identified a set of 11 private and public banks as issuing entities such as Bank of Baroda, Axis Bank, Canara Bank, State Bank of India, Punjab National Bank, HDFC Bank, IndusInd Bank, and ICICI Bank. The list will soon be expanded and more banks will be brought in to widen the reach and ensure timely disbursement. Payments are made as digital vouchers on apps, including Pine Labs, BHIM Baroda Merchant Pay, PNB Merchant Pay, YONO SBI Merchant Pay, and BharatPe. More apps will be added to this list shortly.

Related: e-RUPI digital payment: How the voucher-based digital payment solution will work? Banks issuing e-RUPI vouchers

4. Who is e-RUPI meant for?

e-RUPI digital vouchers are issued to the intended beneficiaries via the mobile number registered on their Aadhaar card. The digital voucher can be redeemed by a specific person and for a specific purpose only. It is a simple two-step redemption process, which does not even require one to provide personal details or documentation.

5. Why is e-RUPI a big deal?

Almost 80% of the Indian population has a mobile phone, thereby enabling a wider outreach. The phone can be a normal feature phone without access to the internet.
e-RUPI directly connects the sponsor (Government) with the beneficiary by enabling the transfer of the welfare initiative (prepaid digital voucher). 
As the voucher cannot be encashed, transferred, or used for any other purpose, chances of its misappropriation are limited.
It eliminates intermediaries, assuring a leakage-proof mechanism of welfare benefit disbursement.
It allows cashless and contactless delivery; via a completely safe and secure mechanism.
Leveraging technology, e-RUPI can expand its outreach and limit the delay between announcement and disbursement of welfare initiatives.

Related: How digital payment methods are changing the face of the Indian economy

Last words

e-RUPI is likely to benefit small entrepreneurs and the MSME sector, It could also be a mainstream credit disbursement mechanism. The private sector could, in the future, be able to issue it for employee benefits and use it for Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) initiatives. There’s no doubt that e-RUPI is a step towards bringing the unbanked population within the formal fold of the financial system. 

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