In a bid to boost digitisation and enhance safe online transactions, the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) Governor Shaktikanta Das on Tuesday launched a new unique payments interface (UPI) for features phones, which, he said, will allow India's 40 crore feature phone users to access the payment service.
Terming the UPI platform '123PAY', Governor Das also launched a helpline for digital payments, 'DigiSaathi' in a special RBI event. He said that 'excluded people' from lower rung of society, especially in rural areas, will now be able to access UPI services.
With the launch of this new UPI for feature phones, Das added that it will help National Payments Corporation of India (NPCI), which is an umbrella organisation for operating retail payments and settlement systems in India, reach its goal of processing a billion transactions a day.
UPI 123Pay will also help RBI reach its objective of a less-cash economy, Das added, saying that more limited payment options will be available to feature phone users.
UPI has emerged as a popular mode of payment through smartphones. The number of digital transactions has grown over five times and large part of this limited to those who hold smart phones, Das said.
At present, UPI services are available for such users through the USSD-based services, but the same has been found to be cumbersome and all the mobile operators do not allow such services, Deputy Governor T Rabi Shankar said.
UPI 123PAY: All you need to know
Feature phone users will now be able to undertake a host of transactions based on four technology alternatives. They include calling an IVR (interactive voice response) number, app functionality in feature phones, missed call-based approach and also proximity sound-based payments, the RBI said.
Such users can initiate payments to friends and family, pay utility bills, recharge the FAST Tags of their vehicles, pay mobile bills and also allow users to check account balances, it said, adding customers will also be able to link bank accounts, set or change UPI PINs.
Further, the 24x7 helpline 'Digisaathi' will assist the callers/users with all their queries on digital payments via website and chatbot.
Users can visit www.digisaathi.info or call on 14431 and 1800 891 3333 from their phones for their queries on digital payments and grievances.
In December, Das had announced the launch of digital payment systems for feature phones.
"These products, coupled with other complementary solutions, will facilitate UPI-based digital payment solutions on feature phones to promote wider digitisation. It is proposed to launch a UPI-based payment product for feature phone users. Further details will be announced shortly," RBI Governor had said.
Moreover, in January, India's cashless retail transactions on UPI platform were worth Rs 8.27 lakh crore in February, slightly lower than the amount recorded in the previous month, data from NPCI had shown.
There was a total of 452 crore (4.52 billion) transactions in February 2022.
On the other hand, instant money transfer through 24x7 IMPS (Immediate Payment Service) fell to Rs 3.84 lakh crore in February as against Rs 3.87 lakh crore in January. During the same period, the number of such transactions stood at 42 crore (420.93 million) as against 44 crore (440.17 million), as per the data.
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