After launching its first two retail stores in India, Apple could also bring its payment service Apple Pay to the Indian market. The company has had discussions with several Indian authorities and officials in recent weeks and plans to hold talks with the National Payments Corporation of India (NPCI), TechCrunch reports citing two sources familiar with the matter.
For the uninitiated, Apple Pay replaces physical cards and cash by letting users make contactless payments using their iPhones and other Apple devices. The service was first launched in 2014 and now it's available in over 80 countries across the globe. Apple Pay set the stage for other financial products from the company such as Apple Card back in 2019, a high-yield savings account, and more recently, Apple Pay Later.
The version of Apple Pay that will arrive in India may be different from what Apple offers elsewhere. As per the report, it will be based on India's local payment system called UPI (Unified Payments Interface). The iPhone maker will be entering a market dominated by the likes of Paytm, Google Pay, and Walmart-owned PhonePe.
Launched in 2016, UPI is an instant bank-to-bank payment system developed by NPCI, a division of India's central bank known as the Reserve Bank of India. UPI allows users to make payments to merchants and friends by scanning QR codes or using their phone numbers. The homegrown payment system recorded its highest-ever monthly transaction count at 8.7 billion with a 60% year-over-year growth.
According to an unnamed source, per TechCrunch, Apple is considering Face ID support for UPI authentication on iPhones and discussed the same during recent talks with some Indian authorities, the publication reports.
This is not the first time Apple has shown interest in bringing its payment service to India. The company has held discussions over the years but things are yet to materialize. A possible launch of the service could be a few quarters away as the company hasn't decided on a launch date and its partners, the sources told the publication.