The Reserve Bank of India (RBI) recently introduced UPI123Pay that enables unified payment interface payment for feature phone users. Currently, efficient access to UPI is available on smart phones — something that can be done via NUUP (National Unified USSD Platform) with the help of a short code of *99#. However, since this process is cumbersome, it is not seen quite user-friendly.
As there are more than 400 million feature phone subscribers in India, UPI123Pay is seen to improve the options for users to access UPI.
There are numerous options to access UPI sans a smartphone:
1. First one is app-based functionality: In this, an app is installed on the feature phone through which several UPI functions can be made available even on a feature phone.
2. Giving a missed call: There is another option of missed call. This allows feature phone users to access their bank account and carry out routine transactions such as receiving and transferring funds, regular purchases and bill payments by giving a missed call on the number shown at the merchant. Following this, the customer would get an incoming call that would authenticate the transaction by entering UPI PIN.
3. Interactive voice response (IVR): There is another option wherein 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: Finally, this method uses sound waves to enable contactless, offline and proximity data communication on any device.
The RBI also launched DigiSaathi, which is a 24x7 helpline to address the queries of digital payment users across products.
This is expected to help users with their queries on digital payments via website and chatbot facility and through toll-free calls where user can dial or call out the options / products for which the information is required.
RBI Governor Shaktikanta Das said these initiatives (DigiSaathi and UPI123Pay) would enhance the diversity, utility and transformational power of digital innovations in the country. These initiatives will deepen the digital ecosystem and financial inclusion. He also stated that the RBI is committed to providing an enabling environment for this.