Fintech Slice joins UPI race to challenge PhonePe and Google Pay

Slice is adding the popular railroad UPI on its eponymous app as the Indian fintech looks to broaden its offerings and pushes to become a one-stop payments app for consumers in the world’s second largest internet market.

The Bengaluru-headquartered startup, which became a unicorn late last year, said it is rolling out UPI feature to all its existing users as well over 10 million of those who have been on its waitlist.

Slice offers customers credit card-like features, and through its app gives them access to a range of deals with popular merchants. The UPI feature is the latest addition for the Slice app, which is aiming to drive engagement as it gives users more reasons to interact with the startup’s offerings.

Rajan Bajaj, founder and chief executive of Slice, said in an interview that by leveraging UPI the payments app is opening the app to every smartphone user in the country.

UPI users on Slice will be able to create unique IDs that will allow them to search for their friends by their names instead of their phone numbers, as is popular on other UPI-supported apps. These unique IDs are powered by Andy, a web3 project that Slice has been working on since last year.

“While building our UPI product, we ensured that we removed all the friction — there is no advertisement, there is no cross-selling, and there are no 100+ CTAs. The question we keep asking ourselves is ‘how can the user do this in one second or even less time?’ And we wanted to make this happen, now,” he said.

TechCrunch reported in late March that Slice was working on launching support for UPI and was revamping the app.

With UPI support, Slice is entering a crowded market. Google’s Gpay and Flipkart-backed PhonePe currently lead the UPI chart with over 80% of the market share. Scores of other players including Paytm and Tata Neu also offer support for UPI payments.

UPI, a five-year-old payments protocol built by a coalition of retail banks, is the most popular way Indians transact money online. In the month of April, the UPI network processed over 5.5 billion transactions, up from 7.2 million during the same period four years ago.

The payments network, which is supported by over 300 banks, allows users on one app to send money to any other user on any other UPI app.

“The payments network in India is very open with interoperability,” said Bajaj. “I believe that a product with the best consumer experience will eventually win people’s hearts. The significant growth which we have seen in the last few years on our slice super card proves that we have really struck a chord culturally with our consumers and they would love to use us for all their payment needs.”

Slice, which is backed by Insight Partners and Tiger Global, said it aims to turn its credit business profitable in the coming months. “As Slice turns profitable in the core product, the company will increasingly be using the free cash flows from there to increase the scope of what Slice stands for its consumers,” it said.