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India central bank moves to ensure continuity of UPI transactions on Paytm

MUMBAI (Reuters) -The Reserve Bank of India said on Friday it has asked the National Payments Corporation of India (NPCI) to examine a request from Paytm, formally known as One 97 Communications, to become a third party application provider (TPAP).

If approved, this would allow Paytm to continue processing payments via India's popular unified payments interface (UPI), but will need a set of newly identified banks to back the app.

The NPCI should facilitate four to five banks, with an ability to process high volumes of UPI payments, to act as service providers to Paytm, the RBI said of Friday.

"No new users are to be added by the said TPAP until all the existing users are migrated satisfactorily to a new handle," the RBI said.

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Last month, the central bank asked Paytm Payments Bank, an associate of Paytm, to wind down its business by March 15, leading to disruption for the popular payment app, which used the banking unit at the back end.

Paytm is the third largest app for UPI payments in the country, processing 1.6 billion monthly transactions, according to data available on the NPCI website. PhonePe and Google Pay are the two largest.

To keep Paytm QR codes running, the company may open settlement accounts with one or more banks, the RBI said.

Paytm said last week it had signed on Axis Bank to act as a banking partner.

(Reporting by Ira Dugal; Editing by Mrigank Dhaniwala and Shinjini Ganguli)