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RBI introduces ‘UPI123Pay’ digital payment service for feature phone

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RBI introduces 'UPI123Pay' digital payment service for feature phone

The Reserve Bank of India announced a new service on Tuesday that allows non-smartphone users to make UPI payments. UPI123Pay is a three-step solution for consumers with less advanced mobile phones or internet access via their phones to commence and execute services.

“Till now, multifaceted features of UPI are mostly available only on smartphones, which excludes people from the lower rung of the society from an economic perspective, especially in rural areas, from accessing the popular service,” PTI quoted RBI Governor Shashikant Das.

“The UPI volumes have touched to ₹76 lakh crore in FY22 so far, as against ₹41 lakh crore in FY21. The day is not far when the overall volumes will touch ₹100 lakh crore,” he added.

UPI has been one of India’s most popular payment systems in recent years, especially since demonetization and the Covid-19 outbreak. In terms of transaction volume, it is the country’s single largest retail payment system.

Users of feature phones will be able to do a lot of tasks, including sending money to friends and family, paying utility bills, recharging vehicle FAST Tags, paying mobile bills, and checking account balances.

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All these services can be accessed via four alternatives:

  1. App-based Functionality: An app would be installed on the feature phone through which several UPI functions, available on smartphones, will also be available on feature phones.
  2. Missed Call: This will allow feature phone users to access their bank account and perform routine transactions such as receiving, transferring funds, regular purchases, bill payments, etc., by giving a missed call on the number displayed at the merchant outlet. The customer will receive an incoming call to authenticate the transaction by entering UPI PIN.
  3. Interactive Voice Response (IVR): UPI payment through pre-defined IVR numbers would require users to initiate a secured call from their feature phones to a predetermined number and complete UPI on-boarding formalities to be able to start making financial transactions without internet connection.
  4. Proximity Sound-based Payments: This uses sound waves to enable contactless, offline, and proximity data communication on any device.

Das also introduced a 24-hour helpline for digital payments on Tuesday, which was put up by the National Payments Corporation of India (NPCI). The Digisaathi helpline will assist callers/users with all digital payment-related questions via website and chatbot.

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