RBI launches UPI for feature phones and digital payments helpline

Wednesday 16 March 2022 15:03 CET | News

The Reserve Bank of India has launched UPI123Pay to make Unified Payments Interface (UPI) payments for feature phone users, and DigiSaathi – a 24x7 Helpline for digital payment users. 

While launching the two initiatives, the RBI Governor highlighted the importance of these initiatives in improving the diversity, utility, and transformational power of digital innovations in the country. These initiatives will further deepen the digital ecosystem and financial inclusion. The Governor also stated that the RBI stands committed to providing an enabling environment for this.

At present, efficient access to UPI is available on smart phones. UPI can be accessed through NUUP (National Unified USSD Platform) using the short code of *99#. But this option is cumbersome and not popular. Considering that there are more than 40 crore feature phone mobile subscribers in India, UPI123pay will materially improve the options for such users to access UPI., the official press release states. UPI123Pay includes four distinct options as below:

  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • Proximity Sound-based Payments: This uses sound waves to enable contactless, offline, and proximity data communication on any device.

The 24x7 Helpline – ‘DigiSaathi’ – provides a channel to obtain help on the entire gamut of digital payments. Automated responses on information related to digital payment products and services are available in Hindi and English through multiple options like a toll-free number, a short code, a website –, and chatbots. DigiSaathi will assist users with their queries on digital payments via website & chatbot facility and through toll-free calls where user can dial or call out the options/products for which the information is required. More interactive options and language choices shall be enabled going forward.

The above initiatives are envisioned to accelerate the process of digital adoption in India, by creating a richer and inclusive ecosystem that can accommodate larger sections of population.

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Keywords: RBI, UPI, online payments, mobile payments, contactless payments
Categories: Banking & Fintech
Countries: India
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