First UAE fintech announces India UPI payment integration, opening door to NRI remittances.

Industry insiders said several other fintech ventures in the UAE and other GCC countries are also hurriedly making plans to get into the UPI-related payment segment either through acquisitions or starting their own platforms
India’s decision last week to open up its Unified Payments Interface (UPI) payment gateway to NRIs (non-resident Indians) in several Gulf and other countries has set off a stir among remittances-focused fintech ventures in the UAE, with Dubai-based user-generated finance platform Xare making a head start with the acquisition of an Indian venture specialising in the UPI payment segment.

Xare has struck an acquisition deal with Bengaluru-based Rive – billed as India’s first platform that allows credit card users, including international cardholders, to scan and pay instantly at 63 million QR codes across the country with zero charges to the merchant.

The acquisition will enable Xare to give UPI access to millions of NRIs visiting India, foreign tourists, and business travellers holding international cards.
Milind Singh and Padmini Gupta – both co-founders of Xare – confirmed the acquisition deal to Arabian Business.

“The latest move by India opened a massive opportunity to build more interoperability for UPI and Rive was the first product that did this at a scale of tens of thousands of customers,” Milind Singh said.
Padmini Gupta, co-founder and chief executive officer of Xare

Padmini Gupta said: “Xare is a global product but with Rive we are strengthening our product fleet as we will now be adding another pioneering product – RiveX to our India offering.”

She also revealed that Xare was planning a nationwide rollout for the product soon.

UPI access to millions of NRIs visiting India
Industry insiders said several other fintech ventures in the UAE and other GCC countries are also hurriedly making plans to get into the UPI-related payment segment either through acquisitions or starting their own platforms.
Milind Singh, co-founder of Xare

The move to open up UPI, an instant real-time payment system, allows NRIs to use their Indian bank accounts linked to their international SIM and use it like any other Indian UPI user for merchant payment as well as peer-to-peer payments.

This will help them make the smallest of payments, especially when they are travelling to India, without absorbing the steep charges of other credit cards.

Industry experts said Xare’s acquisition of Rive will give it a head start among its peers in the Gulf market to corner a major chunk of the new UPI-based payment and spending business.

Rive, a startup founded by the trio of Pankaj Mishra, Prashanth Guru and Ritvik Jain – built a card to UPI rail, allowing any user to use their credit card – issued on any scheme- on UPI.

The startup has already scaled the business to 100,000 users before striking the deal with Xare.

There’s no KYC requirement or credit check to use the Rive platform.

Singh said the acquisition will enable Xare to expand its offering for users in India, and also in providing easy access to finance for spenders underserved by traditional banks and financial institutions.

“It [the acquisition] is a great fit for us. At Xare we already serve millions of migrants, among others, who depend on us to better manage their financial lives. Rive will help us to expand and diversify the base to a much higher level,” Singh said.

He said though India is the largest migrant exporter in the world and the largest remittance recipient, millions of NRIs were hitherto locked out of the UPI system which provides almost 100 percent digital payments coverage.

“The recent announcement to allow NRIs to access UPI on their NRE/NRO accounts is a welcome first step – but there is a long range of challenges that can be addressed with a first principles approach,” Singh said, adding that “bringing Rive into the Xare fold allows us to do this at speed and at scale.”

Prashanth Guru, co-founder of Rive, the team was super excited to join the Xare family.

“With Xare’s visionary leadership, we hope we can further create cutting-edge financial products and innovative services for the Indian marketplace, and beyond,” he said.

Guru said the Rive product is a dream come true for any credit card user – but it has far greater potential.

UAE, Saudi Arabia, Qatar and Oman are the GCC countries in the list for NRIs to digitally transfer funds using the UPI platform from their non-residential (NRE/NRO) accounts.

The move could lead to a major impact on companies like MasterCard and Visa and also money exchanges, as the Government of India-backed UPI payments are much cheaper than all its competitors.

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