UPI, or Unified Payments Interface, is a real-time payment system that allows users to transfer money across multiple banks without disclosing bank account details. It is one of the most popular and convenient modes of digital payments in India, with over 3.5 billion transactions worth Rs 6.4 lakh crore in January 2021.
However, on Tuesday evening, UPI users across the country faced problems in making payments as several banks’ servers were down due to internal technical issues. The outage affected various banking services and UPI-enabled applications such as Google Pay, PhonePe, BHIM and Paytm.
Users expressed their frustration on social media platforms as they could not complete transactions or transfer funds. Some of the common complaints were “UPI payment failed”, “UPI server down”, “UPI not working”, “UPI error”, and “UPI unavailable”.
“I have been trying to pay my electricity bill for the last two hours using UPI, but it is not working. This is very annoying and inconvenient. Please fix this issue as soon as possible.”– A X user
“I had to pay my rent today using UPI, but it failed multiple times. My landlord is angry and threatening to evict me. What am I supposed to do? This is unacceptable.”– A Facebook user
“I had to send money to my sister for her medical emergency using UPI, but it did not go through. She is in critical condition and needs the money urgently. This is a matter of life and death. Please help.”– A WhatsApp user
NPCI, the National Payments Corporation of India, the organization that operates UPI, said its systems were working fine and it was working with the banks to resolve the issue. NPCI is an umbrella organization for operating retail payments and settlement systems in the country, under the supervision of the Reserve Bank of India.
“Regret inconvenience on UPI connectivity as few of the banks are having some internal technical issues. NPCI systems are working fine and we are working with these banks to ensure quick resolution.”– NPCI Statement
HDFC Bank, one of the largest banks in the country, said it experienced some difficulties with UPI which was part of a larger ecosystem and it was back in operations later. HDFC Bank has been facing scrutiny from the RBI for its frequent technical glitches in the past.
“We experienced some difficulties on UPI which was part of a larger ecosystem. We are back in operations now. We regret the inconvenience caused to our customers.”– HDFC Bank spokesperson
Neither banks nor NPCI formally acknowledged the UPI outage or gave any clarity on the cause or resolution time. The UPI outage highlighted the importance of robust digital infrastructure and prompt resolution mechanisms to avoid disruptions in essential financial services. UPI is expected to play a key role in the government’s vision of a cashless and digital economy.