Payment companies suffer frequent UPI system outages

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Payment companies suffer frequent UPI system outages

In the last few weeks, payment companies have suffered frequent “downtimes” or “outages” on the Unified Payments Interface (UPI) platform leading to many unprocessed customer and merchant transactions, four payments industry executives, who operate UPI-based apps and platforms.

While the adoption of UPI has grown significantly since April, there has been a corresponding rise in transaction failures on account of the high volumes of transactions flowing through the banking system. UPI, which is operated by the National Payments Corporation of India (NPCI), is the fastest growing retail payments platform in the country. In November this year, the platform clocked over 220 crore transactions worth ₹3.9 lakh crore in November this year, up by 90% from March. Between April and November this year, over ₹23 lakh crore worth of transactions flowed through the UPI system, according to NPCI data.

Several frequent outages

The current UPI system is “completely broken and it is not just outages that are the problem but there is no transparency on what is happening.” Since then implementation of UPI was left to the banks, with a zero merchant-discount-rate most of the banks are not upgrading their system while transactions keep scaling, this person said on the condition of anonymity.

“There is no economic model in UPI payments, banks are not investing and some of them have said they are not interested in even maintaining the required infrastructure. So the whole UPI system was set up in haste and was scaled in haste, that people are now losing confidence. People now are saying it’s better to use a wallet because there are no multiple parties in the chain, compared to 4 parties in the UPI system,” the payments executive quoted above said.

A second payments executives said that the number of issues on the system have been rising for some time, but the frequency of outages have increased significantly in the last few weeks. “It is not a network issue, because that can be easily resolved by the customer re-initiating the transaction. It certainly seems like a capacity issue with the banks, perhaps they are short-staffed or the quantum of transactions is too high to handle and therefore is a memory problem at the server level,” this person said on the condition of anonymity.

A standard UPI transaction, whether through a QR-code scan or UPI ID, begins with a debit from the remmiter’s account, which is then passed to the NPCI’s UPI Switch, and then the funds are credited to the beneficiaries’ bank account, within a matter of seconds.

A third payments executive said that for many customers the failure is happening at the debit level itself and if the transaction fails after multiple attempts, it means that the downtime is lasting for a long time. “We are practically seeing one issue or the other every day, and it is affecting all banks whether they are the remmitter or beneficiary. Some of the smaller private and public banks are not focusing on UPI since there is no money to be made, and its just a load on their infrastructure,” this person said on the condition of anonymity.

However, Ashneer Grover, chief executive officer and co-founder, BharatPe says that there wasn’t a disproportionate outage on UPI, otherwise the overall UPI transactions would have been lower in November compared to the previous months. “Some banks may have capacity issues, so this is an indication that they need to increase their server space to accommodate and handle these UPI volumes,” he said.

Three of the executives quoted above said that the issues they faced was due to issues with their anchor banks, including ICICI Bank, Axis Bank, Kotak Mahindra Bank, State Bank of India and among others.

“While UPI volumes continue to grow, we have taken several measures to reduce technical declines including a switch level upgrade and higher concurrency. Due to these measures, our TD rate in November is below 0.4%,” Deepak Sharma, President and Chief Digital Office, Kotak Mahindra Bank said in an emailed response.

Rising technical failures on UPI

The NPCI publishes bank performance data on the UPI network every month, which provides data on the total volume of UPI transactions a bank processes, either as a remmitter or beneficiary, the quantum of transactions that failed due to business declines (insufficient funds) and the quantum of transactions that failed due to technical declines (unavailability of systems and network issues at banks or the NPCI). Since August, the technical decline rate for some public sector banks and private banks have been rising. Nine of the top ten banks, in terms of technical declines on the remitter side in October, were public sector banks.

Deal Wiki

Update - A Bank of India official said that the bank is working on optimising its payments architecture and it has added new application servers to increase success rate. “We are in process of installing high-end M8 servers [Oracle] and making it more robust for high volume UPI transactions,”

Reached out to Punjab National Bank (Andhra Bank and Corporation Bank), Union Bank of India (United Bank of India), Canara Bank, Bank of Baroda (Dena Bank) and Indian Bank for comments. I will update this article with their responses, once received.

20 Comments  |  
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This is happening with me again and again. 3 times so far. Everytime I had to login in bank to check if money deducted or not.

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saucap wrote:

This is happening with me again and again. 3 times so far. Everytime I had to login in bank to check if money deducted or not.

Yup, only Paytm bank & NSDL bank UPI working 24/7.

Today i send money from Bank of India to ICICI bank via UPI, Money send successfully and received in my ICICI bank account but received error msg from Bank of India “Bank server busy” and ICICI bank send msg “your credit request is declined”.

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abhishek012 wrote:

Yup, only Paytm bank & NSDL bank UPI working 24/7.

Today i send money from Bank of India to ICICI bank via UPI, Money send successfully and received in my ICICI bank account but received error msg from Bank of India “Bank server busy” and ICICI bank send msg “your credit request is declined”.

Yes, yday sent 500 from dbs app to icici upi, got notification on imobile that money credited followed by icici sms stating upi credit request failed. Happened for the first time.

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Oh so this is why SBI is down for so long hushed

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saucap wrote:

This is happening with me again and again. 3 times so far. Everytime I had to login in bank to check if money deducted or not.

Which bank?

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MrKool_JJ wrote:

Which bank?

Never share your bank, OTP, password

RBI kehta hai jaankaar baniye, samajhdaar baniye 😁

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saucap wrote:

Never share your bank, OTP, password

RBI kehta hai jaankaar baniye, samajhdaar baniye 😁

Edit – Never disclose your OTP and PIN number to any person.

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insta wrote:

Yes, yday sent 500 from dbs app to icici upi, got notification on imobile that money credited followed by icici sms stating upi credit request failed. Happened for the first time.

oo man, DBS also hushed

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hackerboys wrote:

oo man, DBS also hushed

Yes, first i tried from amazon (dbs linked) it didnt go through,
After an hour i tried on dbs app it goes to pending state and after some time it succeeded, yet icici sent message as credit failed. Never faced such issues b4.

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One small tip:
Before making payment of UPI, just try checking balance first. If it gives your balance go ahead UPI server is fine, if not it’ll throw error showing the balance.

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B3A5T wrote:

One small tip:
Before making payment of UPI, just try checking balance first. If it gives your balance go ahead UPI server is fine, if not it’ll throw error showing the balance.

Exactly. This works well. You will know beforehand if something’s not working well with your bank. But still sometimes the receiving bank will be having problems, which to check is out of our control.

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smz wrote:

Exactly. This works well. You will know beforehand if something’s not working well with your bank. But still sometimes the receiving bank will be having problems, which to check is out of our control.

use Mobikwik UPI, Mobikwik first check both banks server is running or not before sending your money.

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abhishek012 wrote:

use Mobikwik UPI, Mobikwik first check both banks server is running or not before sending your money.

Does using mobikwik require minimum KYC ?

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smz wrote:

Does using mobikwik require minimum KYC ?

no kyc needed for UPI transfer.

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xera0117 wrote:

Oh so this is why SBI is down for so long hushed

Today, neither IMPS nor NEFT txns went thru. UPI txns were working yesterday tho.

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Paytm has a pretty nice feature of listing the banks that are facing downtime problems.

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DimeDime wrote:

Paytm has a pretty nice feature of listing the banks that are facing downtime problems.

Where to find it

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My money stuck since 1st December. Did UPI transaction via GPAY. Money deducted but not credited to recipient till now. What to do?

Missing