The RBI has hiked the cap on e-Rupi prepaid digital vouchers from Rs 10,000 to Rs 1 lakh and enabled the instrument for multiple transactions. The e-Rupi, which was launched by the National Payments Corporation of India (NPCI) in August last year, is similar to a gift card that can be used in specified outlets but is delivered electronically to mobile phones. e-Rupi runs on the UPI platform and earlier had a cap of Rs10,000 per voucher and could be used/redeemed only once.

The e-RUPI prepaid digital voucher, developed by the National Payments Corporation of India (NPCI), was launched in August 2021 as a person-specific and purpose-specific cashless voucher with a cap of Rs 10,000 and single time redemption facility.

“To facilitate digital delivery of various government schemes to the beneficiaries, it is proposed to increase the cap on the amount for e-RUPI vouchers issued by Governments to Rs 1 lakh per voucher and allow the use of the e-RUPI voucher multiple times (until the amount of the voucher is completely redeemed),” RBI Governor Shaktikanta Das said.

What is e-Rupi?
e-RUPI is basically a digital voucher that a beneficiary gets on his mobile phone as an SMS or QR code. It is a pre-paid voucher, which he/she can go ahead and redeem it at any centre that accepts it.

For example, if the Government wants to cover a particular treatment of an employee in a specified hospital, it can issue an e-RUPI voucher for the determined amount through a partner bank. The employee will receive an SMS or a QR Code on his feature phone/smartphone. He/she can go to the specified hospital, avail of the services, and pay through the e-RUPI voucher received on his/her phone.

It is a one-time contactless, cashless voucher-based mode of payment that helps individuals redeem the e-RUPI voucher without a card, digital payments app, or internet banking access.

Advantages of e-RUPI for individuals
e-RUPI does not require the beneficiary to have a bank account, a major distinguishing feature as compared to other digital payment forms. It ensures an easy, contactless two-step redemption process that does not require sharing of personal details either.

Another advantage is that e-RUPI is operable on basic phones also, and hence it can be used by persons who do not own smartphones or in places that lack an internet connection. 

e-RUPI is expected to play a major role in strengthening Direct-Benefit Transfer to individuals from various governments and making it more transparent. Since there is no need for the physical issuance of vouchers, it will also lead to some cost savings as well.