Chart of the Week August 26, 2022: India’s UPI-led Digital Payments Revolution


Over the past few years, digital payments witnessed exponential growth in India, driven by payments via the Unified Payments Interface (UPI) which was launched as a pilot project in 2016 by the National Payments Corporation of India (NPCI). The volume and value of UPI-based transactions grew by 50 and 75 times, respectively from FY 2017 to FY 2021.

UPI has also become a preferred mode of digital payment vis-à-vis credit and debit cards, and the volume of UPI-based transactions is expected to reach 169 billion in 2025-26.


  • UPI-based transactions went up from 915 million in FY 2017 to 45,956 million in FY 202. Many factors have led to this massive increase in UPI payments, such as direct and instant transfers to bank accounts, interoperability, virtual payment address (VPA), etc.
  • One year after the launch of UPI, its share in the total number of payments was only 6% compared to card payments which had a share of 36%. However, in FY 2021, the share of UPI transactions in total payments grew to 63%, and the share of card payments plummeted to 9%.
  • In terms of value, UPI transactions witnessed a sizeable increase since FY 2017, but its share in total payments was only 5% in FY 2021. On the other hand, the share of card payments has remained more or less the same in the last five years.
  • The COVID-19 pandemic has further accelerated the adoption of UPI-based mobile transactions. Compared to the pre-pandemic period, there was roughly a three-fold increase in the value and volume of these transactions during the pandemic.

Article By Rohanshi VAID

Graphic By Yixuan GE

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