Google Pay launches Aadhaar-based authentication for UPI activation


Google Pay announced that it has launched support for users to register for  UPI using Aadhaar via National Payments Corporation of India (NPCI).

With the Aadhaar-based UPI onboarding flow, Google Pay users will be able to set their UPI PIN without a debit card. As UPI scales to the next hundreds of millions of Indian users, this is expected to help many more users set up UPI IDs and enable them to make digital payments. This feature is now available to bank account holders of supported banks (full list here). More banks are expected to follow very soon.

As per the data by Unique Identification Authority of India (UIDAI), over 99.9% of the adult population in India have an Aadhaar number and use it at least once a month. The Aadhaar-based onboarding facility on UPI is provided to make it available to a greater number of users and further financial inclusion.

Users who want to onboard UPI via Aadhaar, will need to ensure that  (a) their phone number registered with UIDAI and bank are the same, and (b) their bank account is Aadhaar linked.  Once they have done this, they can use the steps below for onboarding.

  1. On Google Pay, users have the option to select between Debit card or Aadhaar based UPI onboarding. If they select Aadhaar, then users will need to enter the first six digits of their Aadhaar number to initiate the process.
  2. In order to complete the authentication step, users will enter OTPs received from UIDAI and their bank.
  3. Subsequently, their respective bank will complete the process and they can set their UPI PIN.

Customers will then be able to use Google Pay app to make transactions or check balance.  Once a user enters the first six digits of an Aadhaar number, it is sent to UIDAI via NPCI for validation. This process ensures the safety of users’ Aadhaar number. Google Pay does not store the Aadhaar number and merely acts as a facilitator in sharing the Aadhaar number with the NPCI for validation.

Speaking about the roll-out, Sharath Bulusu, Director of Product Management from Google, “We are thrilled to announce UPI activation using Aadhaar-based OTP authentication on Google Pay, bringing simplicity and convenience to our users.  Aligned with the Government’s vision to drive financial inclusion, this feature will further strengthen our efforts to drive deeper penetration for digital payments in India. Over the years, we are very heartened by the ready adoption digital payments have witnessed in the country, and this feature will help boost the UPI ecosystem even further.”


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