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ICICI Bank, Axis Bank to co-lead NUE with Amazon, Visa as partners

Leading private sector lenders and have tied up with global e-commerce major Amazon and cards major Visa to launch a retail payments entity, which will be a rival to state-owned NPCI, officials said on Wednesday.

Concerns over concentration risk and a need to fast-track cashless payments had led the RBI to invite applications for a New Umbrella Entity (NUE) to rival the National Payments Corporation of India (NPCI), which currently delivers services like UPI-based payments.

According to media reports, this has led to a huge interest among various entities to get into the fray by forming consortia. These include one where Reliance Industries has tied up with Facebook and Google, another led by Paytm which has companies like Ola, while there is one led by the Tata Group with Mastercard, Bharti Airtel, Kotak Mahindra Bank and HDFC Bank as partners.

The extended deadline for making the applications ended on Wednesday.

ICICI Bank and Axis Bank will be co-leading the consortium with a 20 per cent stake each, officials in the know told PTI.

Other partners, including Amazon, Billdesk, Pine Labs and Visa will be holding a stake of 15 per cent each, they said.

The scope of activities for the NUE as mandated by RBI includes payment systems in the retail space like ATMs, white label point of sale terminals, Aadhar-based payment systems and remittance services, operation of clearing and settlement systems for participating banks and non-banks, be interoperable with NPCI, and participate in the Reserve Bank’s payment and settlement systems.

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