The National Payments Corporation of India (NPCI), which runs UPI and RuPay payment schemes, has allotted 4.63 percent of its equity shares worth Rs 81.64 crore to multiple banks and non-banking payment entities through a private placement.
NPCI had made the offer for a private placement to 131 Reserve Bank of India-regulated entities, of which 19 had shown interest and were allotted shares in NPCI. With this expansion, NPCI will get a few commercial banks, some small finance banks and payment companies as its shareholders, taking the total number of shareholders to 67.
The move comes at an interesting point in time, when the RBI is encouraging the creation of other retail payment bodies in the country to offer new payment systems. Large banks like SBI and others have evinced interest in setting up their own payment systems to compete with NPCI.
NPCI was formed as a non-profit under the direction of the RBI with banks as shareholders. In the first tranche, mostly large public sector banks had participated in the round, following which few large private banks had come in. Now the shareholding base gets further distributed. Interestingly, NPCI is owned by the very same companies to which it offers its services like card payments, smartphone-based payments, toll payments and instant settlements.
“With this, we have also broad based our shareholding to include new categories like payment banks, small finance banks and payment system operators in addition to existing public sector, private sector, foreign, co-operative and regional rural banks,” said Rupesh H. Acharya, chief of finance, NPCI.
Among the prominent names which have joined the shareholders are Paytm Payments Bank, Mobikwik, PhonePe, PayU, Pine Labs, Billdesk, Sodexo and a few others. Among the banks, there is Dhanlaxmi Bank, IDFC First Bank and others who have joined the list.While these players become shareholders in the retail payments body, State Bank of India, Punjab National Bank, ICICI Bank, HDFC Bank, Axis Bank and Citi bank have board representations in the company.