With BBPS in for-profit avatar, NPCI has made a billion-dollar bet

India’s central bank conceived of BBPS as a platform to digitize bill payments across a broad spectrum of uses. Now, BBPS’s parent body NPCI senses a much bigger canvas to be painted with this technology, eventually taking the competition to traditional payment gateways

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Pratik Bhakta

June 10, 2021

8 Min Read

For the National Payments Corporation of India, a lot is riding on its recently hived-off platform Bharat Bill Payments. If Unified Payments Interface, which allows for real-time bank transfers over smartphones, has brought consumer payments under NPCI’s ambit, BBPS is the payments authority’s bet at bringing all bill payments within its scope, a market opportunity estimated at Rs 35 lakh crore (nearly $475 billion).

BBPS currently processes about Rs 5,000 crore (about $675 million) worth of transactions a month. It is gradually increasing its market share. But, as bankers driving the initiative point out, perhaps not fast enough.

“We are yet to see a hockey stick growth in BBPS,” said a senior banker. “NPCI has many bets riding on it and hopefully the entire ecosystem will come together, like it did with UPI, to digitize the massive bill payments market in the country.”

NPCI, structured as a non-profit entity owned majorly by banks, recently hived off BBPS as a profit-making body, a show of confidence that could unleash massive growth opportunities for the settlement engine, including by attracting private capital.

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