The Governor of the Reserve Bank of India, Shaktikanta Das, launched 'UPI123Pay' earlier today, which would enable payments of the Unified Payments Interface (UPI) to take place using feature phones.
Feature phones are bare basic mobile phones, that only provide access to calling and texting services. They may not have access to the internet, or to apps offered by popular platforms such as Android's Google Play or to Apple's App Store.
A 24x7 helpline, called 'Digisaathi', which can be reached on 14431 or 1800 891 3333 (both toll free) or on digisaathi.info for all queries related to digital payments was also launched.
Currently, UPI payment transfers needs an internet connection and the relevant applications using smartphones, which excludes nearly 40 crore people from the UPI ecosystem. Das, during the unveiling ceremony, said that this exclusion was despite smartphones gradually becoming cheaper.
Using this version of UPI, individuals can use all the services that UPI has to offer, such as recharges, bill payments, balance inquiries and money transfers using calls and texts, except for UPI's scan and pay.
In his December bimonthly monetary policy address, Das announced that the RBI would be introducing this feature.
The use of UPI has grown especially during the pandemic, with payment volumes across several months hitting all time highs. It is a feature that is baked into banking apps as well as third-party payment apps such as Google Pay, PhonePe, PayTM and Mobikwik.
In the current financial year, which ends on March 31, Dilip Asbe, who is the CEO and MD of the National Payments Corporation of India (whose product UPI is) has quoted Das to say that the value of UPI transactions has exceeded $1 trillion.
How do I access this service?
You can access this feature by first registering your bank with your UPI123Pay number.
Start by calling 080 4516 3666 to register the same.
It will ask you for details like the last few digits of the debit card linked to your bank and its ATM pin, after setting your preferred language.
The system would then ask the user to set a UPI pin.
This number can also be used for mobile recharges, bill payments, check bank balances and money transfer to contacts or to any recipient. For this transfer to take place, one would only need to input their UPI pin set before and select the payment amount.
The feature also permits missed call-based payments, where a missed call need to be made to a number linked to a shopkeeper or recipient. This will also trigger the payment process. Further, if the phone permits NFC or bluetooth, payments can also be made by tapping the phone to a wireless payments terminal.
The entire presentation can be watched below, and the segment outlining UPI123Pay can be also be viewed at the 18:40 mark.