India’s Unified Payments Interface (UPI) infrastructure could be an inspiration for a global not-for-profit payment system for refugees, said United Nations International Computing Centre’s (UNICC) director in an exclusive interview to an Indian financial and business portal.
The UNICC Director Sameer Chauhan said that during the war in Ukraine, UNHCR (United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees) issued monthly payments to refugees using debit cards, but faced challenges such as lost cards and limited access to funds. So, in late 2022, it successfully piloted a crypto-based solution where refugees with mobile phones received crypto payments tied to US stablecoin, but India’s UPI infrastructure could be the inspiration for a global not-for-profit payment system for refugees. He added that issuing monthly payments to refugees using debit cards, like the UN initially did during the war in Ukraine, is challenging due to issues like lost cards and limited access to funds.
In February, the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) extended UPI services for inbound travellers from G20 countries. In the same month, India and Singapore also signed a pact to launch cross-border connectivity between UPI and its Singapore counterpart, PayNow. India has also signed memoranda of understanding with 13 countries that want to adopt UPI for digital payments.