The Eiffel Tower in France has made history as it becomes the backdrop for the European debut of UPI. A Memorandum of understanding has been signed between National Payments corporation of India international and Lyra Network, enabling tourists to purchase tickets at the Eiffel tower directly through scanning a QR code. This groundbreaking event, which took place on 26th January 2024, marks a significant milestone for UPI, as it expands its reach to an European nation for the first time.

UPI, or Unified Payment interface is a revolutionary payment system in India that allows users to transfer funds instantly between bank accounts using just their mobile phones. The decision to introduce UPI at the iconic Eiffel Tower highlights the global recognition and acceptance of this innovative technology.

In this article, we will analyses the growth of UPI and its evolution as a leading payment interface.


Unified payments interface (UPI) is an instant digital payment interface in India. The interface is developed by National payments Corporation of India (NPCI) in 2016 with the aim of enabling fast, secure and real-time digital money transfer between bank accounts. 

UPI is Revolutionary:

This phenomenal growth wasn't without its context. Prior to UPI, sending money in India was often a cumbersome process, riddled with bank account details and lengthy wait times. Prior to UPI, cash reigned supreme, which hindered the progress of a cashless economy.

The important aspect of UPI is its ease and security. UPI offer a user-friendly interface (available in multiple languages) that required only a unique ID, eliminating the need to share sensitive bank details. 

The interface is operated by the Reserve Bank of India, which facilities direct payments between bank accounts using digital interface.

Widespread Popularity of UPI:

Over the past few years, UPI as a payment method has significantly marked presence in India. Boasting of having 380 million active users, UPI recorded over 12.2 billion transactions in January 2024 alone. 

More than 75% of the retail transactions in India happen through UPI and is also available across 130+ applications from different banks and fintech companies. That is why, it is one of the most efficient instant payment systems in the entire world.

Owning to this popularity and simple interface, the Unified payment interface is also transacting beyond borders. In September 2021, a cross-border digital payment interface provider signed a pact with the NIPL. Under this pact, UPI was launched in Singapore, Thailand, Malaysia, Philippines, Vietnam, Hong Kong, South Korea, Japan, and Cambodia starting 2022. 

And not only this, in March 2022, Indian Government also signed pact with Arab Monetary Fund to enable UPI payments in Arab region.

UPI’s official application, BHIM, is also applicable in Bhutan since 2021, becoming first nation to use BHIM.

However, the expansion does not stop there; UPI is also in talks to make debut in Australia and Russia in coming years. 

UPI Gives Tough Competition to Other International Interfaces:

The world is embracing the speed and convenience of instant digital payments. From the dominance of Alipay and WeChat Pay in China to the rising popularity of PromptPay in Thailand, diverse systems are changing how people and businesses transact.

South Korea's KakaoPay and NaverPay seamlessly integrate real-time payments into daily life, while the UK's Faster Payments offer secure bank-to-person transfers. 

Brazil's PIX revolutionized payments with QR code and mobile number transfers, while the US offers options like Zelle and bank-developed services. UPI offers tough competition to all of these interfaces. 

While Chinese Giant leads globally in terms of numbers of transaction, with handling more than 50 billion transactions in comparison to 10 billion transactions handled by UPI per month, UPI leads in term of affordability, no transaction fees, and interoperability, which enables payments across different apps and banks. 

UPI's growth and user base dwarf many international systems, however, unlike any other digital payment interface, it is also subjected to malicious activities, data beaches and phishing scams.

A 2023 report by FICO claims that 47.25% of cybercrime cases in India between 2020 and 2023 were linked to UPI. A 2023 article by The Hindu Business Line cites government data stating that there were over 95,000 UPI fraud cases reported in 2022-23.

Under such circumstances, Initiatives like NPCI's "UPI Spandana" app, which promotes awareness and education, are crucial. 


The Eiffel Tower's UPI debut represents a symbolic moment in India’s digital payment revolution. It shows not only an increased acceptance of UPI within Europe, but its potential to be a global player in the instant payments game. 
Initially just intended as a remedy for clumsy cash transactions, UPI has emerged as an interoperable and user-friendly system that boasts millions of users with billions of monthly transactions. Its cost-effectiveness and availability are exceptional in a fee-dominated world, attracting both people and businesses alike.

Nevertheless, it is expedient to remain vigilant against frauds or data breaches. Initiatives such as “UPI Spandana” demonstrate the significance of user education and awareness in order to ensure that everyone benefits from UPI securely.

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