RBI Governor Shakktanta Das on Tuesday launched a new service that will allow over 40 million feature phone users to securely make digital payments. Called UPI (Unified Payments Interface) “123PAY”, the service is a three-step method of initiating and running services for users, working on basic phones without an Internet connection.
Das said that until now, UPI’s multiple features are mostly only available on smartphones, which economically excludes people from lower social classes, especially in rural areas, from accessing the popular service, even though smartphone prices are falling.
He said UPI volumes had reached Rs. 76 lakh crore in FY22 so far versus Rs 41 lakh crore in FY21, adding that the day when total volume will reach Rs is not far away. 100 lakhcrores.
There are an estimated 40 million cell phone users who own feature phones.
Currently, UPI services are available for such users through the USSD-based services, but the same have proven cumbersome and all mobile operators do not allow such services, Deputy Governor T. Rabi Shankar said.
Feature phone users can now conduct a variety of transactions based on four technology alternatives. These include calling an IVR (Interactive Voice Response) number, app functionality in feature phones, a missed call-based approach and also nearby sound-based payments, the RBI said.
Such users can initiate payments to friends and family, pay utility bills, top up their vehicles’ FAST tags, pay mobile bills, and also allow users to check account balances, it said, and adding customers will also be able to link bank accounts , set or change UPI PINs.
A 24×7 digital payments hotline was also launched on Tuesday by Das, also set up by the National Payments Corporation of India (NPCI).
The hotline called “Digisaathi” assists the callers/users with any questions related to digital payments through the website and chatbot.
Users can visit www.digisaathi.info or call 14431 and 1800 891 3333 from their phones to ask their questions about digital payments and complaints.
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