This blog will dive deep into the concept of (Virtual Payment Address) VPA in UPI (Unified Payments Interface). We will list the advantages of using the UPI infrastructure for customers and businesses alike. Moreover, we will uncover the different kinds of VPAs and how they can be used for your business needs! 

Our daily transactions run the world. 

Well, if not the world, then they definitely run the economy.

In fact, India is now a leader in real-time payments.

The rise in real-time payments in India can be attributed to the adoption of UPI as a payment method. Since its introduction, UPI has facilitated peer-to-peer (P2P) transactions as well as peer-to-merchant (P2M) transactions.

UPI infrastructure is based on Virtual Payment Address (VPA). In this blog, we take a deep dive into what VPA means, its types, and its advantages. 

What does VPA Mean? What is VPA in UPI?

Virtual Payment Address or VPA in UPI is an address that is used to identify an individual or a business on UPI (Eg. johndoe@oksbi). In fact, it is like an email ID for your money. It is a unique identifier that your bank uses to make transactions.

UPI allows customers and businesses to transfer funds instantly. The payer does not need to fill in the recipient’s bank account details to make the payment. It can simply be done by entering the recipient’s VPA or the phone number linked with the recipient’s VPA. 

The VPA of UPI is so popular with the masses because it is extremely easy to use. Moreover, it only requires a few minutes to set up. 

How to create a VPA in UPI?

UPI is extremely user-friendly. In fact, you can create your own VPA using any UPI app by following these simple steps.

Download a UPI-enabled App

UPI apps can be divided into UPI bank apps (Paytm, BHIM Axis Pay UPI) and 3rd party apps (PhonePe, Google Pay, Amazon Pay etc.)

Use the mobile number that you have registered with your bank. You may also choose to link more than one bank account to your UPI app to generate an ID for each linked bank account.

Create a UPI PIN

Your UPI PIN is the security number that you set when you first add your bank account. You will be required to enter this PIN each time you initiate a payment. It is highly advisable not to share your UPI PIN with anyone for security reasons.

Create a unique ID 

Your UPI ID will act as your financial address. This will allow you to make transactions without having to remember the bank account details (like bank a/c number, IFSC code, etc). 

A VPA is typically a combination of numbers and alphabets. The 1st part of the VPA could be a mobile number, for example, 9999999999@ybl, or a set of characters. For e.g. johndoe21@ybl. 

However, you have to check the availability of your desired VPA. Once you set your UPI PIN and VPA, you can then initiate UPI transactions. 

Pay using your VPA in UPI

Enter the beneficiary’s VPA in the UPI payment and the amount. You could also choose to add remarks along with that payment. Furthermore, you can share your VPA with others to receive payments.

Advantages of VPA in UPI

Advantages of Virtual Payment Address

Low transaction cost

A lot of banks charge their customers for IMPS, NEFT, and RTGS transactions. However, payments through VPA include zero to minimal added costs borne by the UPI app user

User friendly

Doing transactions through VPA is extremely user-friendly. Using a VPA makes it convenient to track all your transactions in one place. You do not need to remember bank a/c details, IFSC code numbers, net banking ID or passwords.

Popular UPI apps have a standard nomenclature format. For instance, these are the VPA suffixes for some banks and UPI-enabled apps:

  • BHIM – @upi
  • HDFC Bank UPI  – @HDFC
  • Paytm Payment Bank – @paytm
  • SBI Pay – @SBI
  • ICICI Bank UPI– @icici
  • PNB UPI – @PNB
  • Axis bank – @axis
  • Yes Bank – @YBL
  • Bank of Baroda – @barodapay

Moreover, NPCI has issued directives to banks and 3rd party apps to have easy-to-remember formats.

Talk about user-friendliness! 

Moreover, in UPI transactions, the fund transfer is done from bank to bank. Recipients get instant access to funds and they can be used without any restrictions. This means that you can keep your money in your bank account and earn interest! 

Allows Transactions 24×7

You can send and receive UPI payments even on Sundays and bank holidays. Transactions are not limited to the working hours of banks.

More Security

Cyber frauds are always making the news. These reports highlight the utmost importance of ensuring transactional safety.

Thankfully, there is an element of added security in VPA. When you pay someone through their VPA, the recipient will not know your bank account details as this is masked by your VPA. Moreover, you can always change your VPA at any time that you choose.

Instant beneficiary addition

In IMPS/NEFT transactions, you have to wait for a period of time to add a beneficiary. This time period can range from 30 minutes to a few days.

However, VPA allows you to make instant transfers to any VPA.

One VPA, Multiple Accounts

One VPA can be linked to multiple banks. However, one bank will be primary. 

Now that you know about the advantages of VPA, let’s have a look at how it can be used to send and receive payments.

Sending money via VPA

Ease of use is one of the top reasons why UPI has been an instant hit with users. You can send money via any UPI app in a matter of seconds. All you have to do is follow these simple steps:

  1. Open your UPI app. For eg. Google Pay, Paytm, PhonePe, etc.
  2. Select the ‘Send Money’ or ‘Pay’ option, depending on the app. 
  3. Scan the QR code of the beneficiary. Alternatively, you can enter their mobile number or VPA.
  4. Enter the desired amount and remarks. Ensure that all the details are correct.
  5. Finally, type in your UPI PIN to validate the transaction. 

Receiving money via VPA

You can just as easily request to receive money via UPI. Here are the steps you need to follow:

  1. Login to your UPI-based mobile app and select UPI
  2. Head on to “Collect via UPI”
  3. Enter the VPA address of your creditor and the amount requested. You can choose to add remarks
  4. If you have multiple VPAs, then select the one linked to the bank account to which the money should be credited
  5. Once the creditor approves the transaction, the money will be deposited in your bank account

One of the reasons why VPA is so popular in today’s times is because it is so user-friendly.

But that’s not all. 

As UPI becomes the preferred payment method among consumers, businesses are also adopting the UPI infrastructure. Businesses can use UPI for various payment needs like payment collection from customers, sending money to suppliers and so on.

Different kinds of VPA in UPI and their usage

The virtual payment addresses can be divided into 3 broad categories:

Peer to Peer (P2P)

These IDs are used to transfer funds between individuals.

A simple example would be: your friend Dave transferring funds to you through a UPI-enabled app.

Peer to Merchant (P2M)

This is used to transfer funds to a merchant or a business.

For instance, you can buy a new phone on Amazon and pay Amazon using any UPI app.

These are created by banks by registering the merchant. The merchant has to submit business KYC documents. Thereafter, the merchant has to set up a business account on any UPI-enabled app. To set up a business account, a merchant has to verify the bank account and integrate the UPI-enabled app with a technical platform.

For instance, here is a guide to setting up a business account on Google Pay1

Most importantly, a P2M VPA cannot be used to send payments, but only receive payments.

Peer To Merchant- Virtual (P2M-V)

Now, this is where it gets interesting.

P2M Virtual accounts are created when an existing P2M VPA is mapped to multiple alias VPAs. These multiple alias VPAs are usually created automatically via an API.

Let’s explain the same with an example.

Let’s say you are a school that needs to collect fees from your students. You can receive fee payments through a P2M Virtual account. In fact, you can assign a unique VPA to each student based on their roll number.

Now, once these alias VPAs are created, you can follow these 3 simple steps to receive and reconcile payments:

  1. Share the ID with every user through SMS/Whatsapp/ email or through your school mobile app
  2. The user will make the payment to this assigned ID using any UPI-enabled app. You are then notified once the payment is received via webhooks

Needless to say, UPI is not only user-friendly but has opened up a huge opportunity for advancements in the payment space.

Almost all major and new businesses are exploring ways to use UPI for their ever-evolving payment needs.

Create a Virtual account with Cashfree Autopay

Cashfree allows businesses to create multiple virtual accounts through UPI Autopay. This helps customers enable e-mandate using any UPI app without entering a PIN. Autopay helps businesses create subscription plans for their customers and automatically debit payments via UPI.

If you are looking to leverage the power of UPI for your business payments, you can check out Cashfree’s UPI Business Stack today.

FAQs on VPA in UPI

Are VPA and UPI ID the same? 

Yes, VPA stands for Virtual Payment Address and is another name for UPI ID. Apps like BHIM Axis Pay, BHIM SBI Pay, Payzapp and PhonePe call it Payment Address. 

How should I send money if VPA is not known? 

If the VPA of the beneficiary is not known, you could use Cashfree’s Cashgram services. Here, the beneficiary will be given a payment link with a predetermined amount. Thereafter, they can choose whichever payment method they think best. 

What is the UPI transaction limit? 

In the case of P2P transfers, the transaction limit per UPI transaction is ₹1 lakh. However, the upper limit varies from bank to bank.

Moreover, for P2P transactions, the UPI payment limit is 10 transactions.

Businesses using UPI for payment collection or disbursal are not restricted by these limits. In fact, you can make any number of transactions of any value to your beneficiaries/customers. Additionally, as a merchant, you can define your own transaction limits.

Pro Tip: Head over to this blog for more information on UPI transaction limits.

Are transactions done through UPI secure?

Yes, transactions done through UPI are secure. However, it is strictly advised to never share your OTP or UPI PIN with anyone.

How do I block my VPA in UPI?

To block your VPA, head over to the UPI  app and then disable that particular VPA. Alternatively, you can consider the net banking route (for eg. Online SBI) and disable the UPI from there. 

How many VPAs can I have?

You can choose to create different VPAs on different UPI apps while linking to the same bank account.

How can I change VPA in UPI?

You can directly change or edit it in your UPI app. Usually, this option can be found under app settings. You can head over to App Settings> VPA> Edit VPA.

Where can I find VPA in PhonePe?

To find it in the PhonePe app, tap your profile picture on the top left corner of the PhonePe app home screen. Thereafter, tap on “My BHIM UPI ID to see your VPA”

What is UPI VPA in Paytm?

UPI VPA in Paytm is your virtual payment address. You can find your VPA in Paytm by heading to the app home screen>clicking on UPI.

What is my VPA in Google Pay?

To check your VPA in Google Pay, click on your profile picture on the home screen. On the top left corner, you will find your user name, registered mobile number and VPA/UPI ID.