Indian tourists visiting the UAE can now utilize their home country's instant payment system for transactions across the nation. They have the capability to employ the QR-based Unified Payments Interface (UPI) at more than 60,000 merchants in diverse sectors such as retail, hospitality, transportation, and supermarkets.

The acceptance of UPI is set to expand further, encompassing a broad spectrum of establishments including retail outlets, dining venues, and tourist attractions like Dubai Mall and Mall of the Emirates. This initiative follows a collaboration between digital commerce company Network International (Network) and NPCI International Payments Ltd. (NIPL) to implement the payment system nationwide.

UPI, India's leading instant payment platform with over 350 million active users, processed 14.04 billion transactions in May 2024 alone. By integrating UPI acceptance into its point of sale (POS) terminals, Network offers a QR-based, secure method for cross-border payments, enabling Indian tourists and NRIs with Indian bank accounts to use UPI at Network’s 200,000 terminals in the UAE.

Earlier in the year, a partnership with Dubai-based Mashreq Bank allowed Indian citizens to use the UPI-powered PhonePe app at Mashreq’s NEOPAY Terminals in various retail, dining, and tourist locations. This announcement was made during an event in Dubai, attended by Satish Kumar Sivan, Consul General of India to the UAE, and senior representatives from both companies.

This collaboration with NIPL, the international division of National Payments Corporation of India (NPCI), aligns with the UAE's goal to enhance its status as a premier tourist destination and a global hub for commerce and business. The number of Indian tourists expected to visit the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) countries is forecasted to hit 9.8 million in 2024, with the UAE expecting 5.29 million visitors from India.

Nandan Mer, Group CEO of Network, highlighted that allowing customers to pay in their preferred method brings the ecosystem closer to the vision of a digital UAE. Jamal Al Nassai from Network described the partnership as a milestone, noting the significant benefits from the new payment method. Ritesh Shukla, CEO of NPCI International, emphasized that the partnership with Network International will strengthen UPI's presence in the UAE, offering Indian travelers a seamless and familiar payment experience while promoting innovative digital payment solutions globally.