Is Debit Card Necessary for UPI?

In the rapidly evolving landscape of digital payments in India, the Unified Payments Interface (UPI) has emerged as a game-changer. 

UPI allows seamless and instant fund transfers between individuals and businesses, making transactions more accessible and efficient. 

However, a common question that often arises is, "Is debit card necessary for UPI?" 

In this blog, we will explore the role of debit cards in UPI transactions and help you understand whether having a debit card is a prerequisite for using this revolutionary payment system. And what to do if you don’t have one. 

Understanding the Evolution of UPI in India 

Before diving into the debit card-UPI connection, let's grasp the essence of UPI. 

UPI, or the Unified Payments Interface, is a real-time payment system developed by the National Payments Corporation of India (NPCI).  

It allows users to link their bank accounts to a mobile app and conduct various financial transactions effortlessly. 

UPI has made it possible to ensure cashless transactions even if you don’t have debit cards or there is no PoS counter. 

Is Debit Card Mandatory for UPI? 

To use UPI in India, you need to have a bank account. When you set up a UPI account, it is linked to your bank account. 

In most cases, linking a debit card to your UPI account is part of the initial setup process. 

The debit card serves as a verification tool, confirming your ownership of the bank account for which you set up the UPI PIN. 

However, having a debit card linked to your UPI account doesn't mean it's necessary for every UPI transaction. 

UPI transactions can be seamlessly initiated using your bank account details and registered mobile number.  

This means you can transact via UPI without needing to physically use your debit card. 

Benefits of Linking a Debit Card to UPI 

Linking a debit card to your UPI account offers certain advantages. 

It allows you to set up UPI PINs quickly, and it can be convenient for secure online shopping and bill payments. 

Transactions Without a Debit Card 

If you prefer not to use a debit card for UPI transactions, you can still send and receive money by linking your bank account directly. 

This is especially helpful for users who may not have or want to use a physical debit card. 

How to Use UPI without Debit Card? 

You can use UPI without a debit card in multiple ways. 

First, you can simply set up your UPI PIN using the bank account directly and not the debit card. 

To use UPI without a debit card, follow these steps: 

1. Download a UPI-enabled mobile app from your bank or a third-party provider.    
2. Open the app and select your bank.    
3. Provide your bank account details and verify your mobile number.    
4. Set up a secure UPI PIN.    
5. You can now start sending and receiving money through UPI using your bank account directly. 

The NPCI (National Payments Corporation of India) realized the need for an alternative to registering for UPI for those Indian citizens who don’t hold debit cards. 

Hence, the NPCI introduced the Aadhar-based verification method for interested individuals who would like to use UPI without debit cardholder status. 

This feature was introduced in September 2021. 

What are the Steps to Follow Before Using UPI Without a Debit Card? 

Before you proceed with the Aadhar-based registration for UPI, you must follow these steps: 

Once these steps are completed, you need to set up the UPI PIN using your Aadhar Card number and registered phone number. 

Now, you have to follow the steps below: 

  1. Download your preferred UPI-enabled app on your smartphone. It could be GPay, PhonePe, PayTM, or others.

  2. Navigate to the ‘Add UPI ID’ or ‘Add Bank Account’ option in the settings.

  3. Find your bank name from the list of the banks provided and proceed to set the UPI PIN.

  4. Now, you will be redirected to the ‘Verification’ section in the app.

  5. Click on the ‘Aadhar-based verification’ option.

  6. Accept the terms and conditions in the app.

  7. Validate your Aadhar details by adding the first 6 digits of your Aadhar number.

  8. Once validation is successful, set up your four-digit or six-digit UPI PIN.

  9. Now, you will receive the OTP on the registered mobile number linked with the UIDAI interface.

  10. Since the RMN is the same as the one linked with Aadhar, the app will auto-read and validate the OTP.

  11. After OTP validation, you need to re-enter your UPI PIN for confirmation.

  12. Upon successful registration, you can now use your UPI to make payments to peers and merchants across India.


In conclusion, while a debit card is often linked to your UPI account during setup, it is not strictly necessary for UPI transactions in India. 

UPI is designed to provide flexibility and convenience to users, allowing them to transact directly from their bank accounts. 

So, whether you have a debit card or not, you can embrace the benefits of UPI and enjoy hassle-free digital payments in the rapidly advancing financial landscape of India. 

With the added information on how to use UPI without a debit card and how to set up a UPI PIN, you have the tools to make the most of this innovative payment system. 


No, a debit card is not strictly necessary for making UPI payments in India. 

You can make UPI payments by directly linking the bank account or through Aadhar-based registration in the UPI app. 

No, a debit card is not mandatory for Google Pay. Google Pay now supports Aadhar-based authentication in the Google Pay app. 

You need to enter the first six digits of your genuine Aadhar card to initiate the validation process through NPCI. 

To ensure UPI-based transactions like transfer of funds, you must have the following: 

  • An active bank account 
  • An active mobile phone number that is registered to your bank account 
  • A smartphone.

No, you cannot use a credit card for making UPI payments.  

Since UPI payments are usually made from your active bank account, which holds funds, a credit card cannot be used for the same as it does not contain your money. 

However, you can link a credit card to your UPI app and ensure payment of credit card bills through that app. 

A debit card is required for UPI payments. But it is not mandatory.  

You can also initiate an Aadhar-based authentication for your UPI PIN generation, which will give you an OTP on the registered mobile number. Following this, you can make UPI payments without any card. 

The full form of UPI is - Unified Payments Interface. 

The new UPI rule is that only digital wallet-based transactions above INR 2000 will be charged.  

Although individuals won’t have to pay any charges, the merchants have to pay the interchange fee.  

Other than this, anyone can do UPI transactions for free. 

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