National Payments Corporation of India (NPCI) announces TECH5, a technology innovator in the field of biometrics, as the winner of the Global level Hackathon – ‘PayAuth Challenge’ for creating an innovative alternative for authenticating UPI based transactions. The solution developed by TECH5 involves using biometrics in a secured manner to authenticate financial transactions on UPI. As a result, TECH5 was offered an opportunity to develop a proof of concept (POC) with NPCI to showcase a novel, secure and private method for authorizing UPI payments.


The first of its kind, the PayAuth challenge was launched in February 2021 by NPCI in association with APIX, the world’s first cross-border, open-architecture API marketplace and sandbox platform. NPCI’s PayAuth Hackathon sought to explore the practicability of products and solutions that utilize factors like biometrics and facial recognition to provide a more user-friendly way to authenticate and authorize transactions on the UPI platform. The challenge received more than 100 entries and, following several rounds of considerations, 19 participants were shortlisted for an internal screening round, and 8 participants were selected to present their solutions during the final. At the end of July 2021, the jury announced TECH5 as the winner of the challenge.


The T5-IDencode platform – the latest innovation of TECH5 in the field of digital ID – is positioned as a solution for payment verification and authorization in UPI aiming to provide secure, private, risk-based user confirmation and user-friendly transaction authorization. Users can create their own decentralized identifier in the form of a secure digital container – T5-Cryptograph and link it to a UPI ID to perform biometric authentication by using TECH5’s NIST top-ranked face and/or fingerprint recognition algorithm.


“This event gives us a brilliant opportunity to partner with NPCI – an umbrella organization set up for running retail payments and settlement systems in India, operating more than 10 different payments products, connecting 1200+ banks, 200+ aggregators and apps, and a billion+ users” – says Ameya Bhagwat, TECH5 VP Global Sales.


Ms. Praveena Rai, COO, NPCI congratulated TECH5 as a winner and added, “We believe that this challenge brought together the brightest of minds to create exceptional and innovative solutions to perform digital transactions with ease and safety. We, at NPCI, are thrilled to explore the alternative authorization solutions created by the winners to facilitate a customer-friendly payment authentication mechanism for the ever-expanding UPI consumer base. It is our sincere endeavour to back the UPI ecosystem and empower them with the right resources. The dynamic and evolving digital payments landscape in India has carved a niche for itself in the global arena and is only set to grow at an exponential rate”.


A member of the Jury, Mr. Pratik Pal, CEO, Tata Digital said, “We would like to congratulate TECH5 who emerged as the best despite the tough competition and at the same time applaud the sincere efforts of all the participants in designing distinctive solutions with respect to UPI payments. We believe that the payment ecosystem should continue its focus and commitment towards nurturing fintech start-ups to attain the goal of a cash-lite society and help the country”.


Another member of the jury, Mr. Sanjay Jain, Chief Innovation Officer, CIIE.Co and Partner at Bharat Innovation Fund commented “As digital payments continue to grow, digital payment systems must continually innovate, and look to improve security and user convenience without compromising on either. The participants in the challenge have shown that both are possible, and I look forward to seeing these solutions incorporated in UPI, bringing in newer users and use cases”.


About NPCI

National Payments Corporation of India (NPCI) was incorporated in 2008 as an umbrella organisation for operating retail payments and settlement systems in India. An initiative of RBI and IBA under the provisions of the Payment and Settlement Systems Act, 2007, NPCI was initiated for creating a robust payment and settlement infrastructure in the country. It has changed the way payments are made in India through a bouquet of retail payment products such as RuPay card, Immediate Payment Service (IMPS), Unified Payments Interface (UPI), Bharat Interface for Money (BHIM), BHIM Aadhaar, National Electronic Toll Collection (NETC) and Bharat BillPay. NPCI also launched UPI 2.0 to offer a more secure and comprehensive services to consumers and merchants. NPCI is focused on bringing innovations in the retail payment systems through use of technology and is relentlessly working to transform India into a digital economy. It is facilitating secure payments solutions with nationwide accessibility at minimal cost in furtherance of India’s aspiration to be a fully digital society.
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About APIX

APIX is the world’s first cross-border, open-architecture API platform, where financial institutions and FinTechs can integrate and test solutions via a cloud-based architecture. Through APIX, financial institutions and FinTech firms can discover one another on a curated global marketplace, design experiments collaboratively in the sandbox and deploy innovative solutions rapidly at a lower cost. APIX is a flagship product of the ASEAN Financial Innovation Network (AFIN), a non-profit entity formed by the Monetary Authority of Singapore, International Finance Corporation, a member of the World Bank Group, and the ASEAN Bankers Association, with the objectives of supporting financial innovation and inclusion around the world.