Apple is setting its sights on bringing its payment service, Apple Pay, to the hands of billions of users in South East Asia, with India being the first target in the region. The company has restarted talks with Indian authorities and officials to bring its payment service to the Indian market.

The tech giant aims to enter a market already dominated by Walmart’s PhonePe, Google’s GPay, and Paytm. Tim Cook, the CEO of Apple, recently met with Indian bankers during his visit to the country, signaling the company’s renewed efforts in launching Apple Pay in India.

Developing a Localized Version of Apple Pay

Apple is actively working on developing a localized version of its payment service that will integrate with India’s Unified Payments Interface (UPI), overseen by the National Payments Corporation of India (NPCI). This localized version will allow iPhone users in India to scan QR codes and initiate UPI transactions without relying on third-party payment service provider (PSP) apps.

The company’s recent engagement with Indian authorities and officials reflects the company’s strong commitment to entering the Indian market. While it has not officially commented on the matter, sources familiar with the discussions have confirmed that the tech giant is pursuing conversations with NPCI for the launch of Apple Pay in India.

Apple’s Tim Cook and tech execs meet Indian Prime Minister Modi (Source: CNBC)

During the discussions, Apple has also explored the possibility of integrating Face ID for UPI authentication on iPhones, providing users with enhanced security for their transactions. However, a final decision on launch partners and a specific launch date has yet to be made, indicating that the official launch of Apple Pay in India may still be a few quarters away.

Adapting Apple Pay to the Indian Market

India represents a relatively small part of Apple’s consumer base, with the majority of smartphones in the country running on Android. However, despite the existing dominance of other payment services, the company’s entry into the Indian market could offer consumers a new and convenient payment option.

With the inauguration of its first store in India, the tech giant has laid the groundwork for expanding its services in the country.

Apple Pay, initially launched in 2014, provides users with a contactless payment solution, replacing physical cards and cash. In India, the service will be customized to integrate with the local UPI system developed by NPCI.

UPI enables users to make instant bank-to-bank payments through QR codes or phone numbers and has experienced significant growth, with a record-breaking monthly transaction count of 8.7 billion.

Engaging with Key Indian Banks and Regulators

To ensure a successful launch of Apple Pay in India, the tech giant is actively engaging with major Indian banks and regulators, including NPCI. The company aims to integrate Apple Pay with NPCI’s Rupay platform or UPI by leveraging the Rupay Credit Card.

This customized version of Apple Pay will cater specifically to Indian consumers, offering seamless QR code scanning and UPI transactions without the need for external third-party apps. Furthermore, Apple plans to incorporate its Face ID technology to provide enhanced security during transactions.

While discussions are ongoing, Apple Pay’s entry into the Indian market may still face challenges. Apple will need to compete with well-established players, such as Google and Samsung, who have already established their presence in the Indian mobile payment landscape.

Source: Bankmycell

Bankmycell reports that as of December 2022, Apple held a market share of approximately 3.54% in the Indian mobile phone market. However, with the rising popularity of digital payments in India, Apple Pay has the potential to attract consumers looking for a secure and convenient payment solution.

As the talks progress and partnerships are finalized, Apple Pay has the potential to become a viable and sought-after payment option for iPhone users in India. The launch of Apple Pay would not only expand Apple’s services in India but also contribute to the growing popularity of digital payments in the country.

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