Immediate Payment Service (IMPS)

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The Immediate Payment Service (IMPS) is a real-time interbank electronic funds transfer system in India. It facilitates instant money transfers between bank accounts 24/7, 365 days a year, including public holidays. This offers a significant advantage over other bank transfer methods like NEFT (National Electronic Funds Transfer) and RTGS (Real-Time Gross Settlement), which were previously not available 24/7.

Key Features of IMPS:

  • Real-Time Transfers: IMPS provides instant fund transfers between accounts, unlike NEFT or RTGS which have specific processing windows.
  • 24/7 Availability: Unlike traditional banking hours, IMPS allows transactions anytime, any day.
  • Mobile-Centric Service: IMPS primarily operates through mobile banking, making it convenient and accessible for a large user base.

Governance and Infrastructure

  • National Payments Corporation of India (NPCI): NPCI manages IMPS and builds upon the existing National Financial Switch (NFS) network, a robust infrastructure for interbank communication.
  • Member Banks: As of April 2023, over 722 banks have signed up for IMPS, offering extensive reach and convenience for users.

Evolution and Impact

  • Pilot Launch (2010): NPCI initially piloted IMPS with four member banks, later expanding to include more major institutions.
  • Public Launch (2010): IMPS was officially launched in November 2010, revolutionizing mobile banking and instant payments in India.
  • Unified Payments Interface (UPI): IMPS serves as the foundation for UPI, another popular mobile payment system in India.

Current Landscape

  • High Transaction Volume: India witnesses approximately 200 million IMPS transactions per month, amounting to roughly US$20 billion in transfer value.