Home Featured RBI has rolled out 123PAY, a new UPI service for feature phones without internet

RBI has rolled out 123PAY, a new UPI service for feature phones without internet

by Shatakshi Gupta

In a country like India, where still millions of people do not have internet access, achieving true digitization of payments can be a challenging task. Taking a quantum jump in the field of financial inclusion, RBI has launched a separate UPI service under the name UPI123Pay. Along with this, NPCI launched a 24×7 helpline, Digisathi, for digital payments. With the help of 123Pay, users will be able to make UPI payments from feature phones without the internet.

Under the new UPI service, all types of transactions can be done except Scan and Pay. With this, there will be no need for internet for payment. To use this facility, users will have to link their mobile number and bank account.

How consequential is this?

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 The UPI payment platform was launched in 2016. Till now a smartphone was required for UPI payment. Because of this many people in the villages could not use it. In December last year, RBI had said that it would launch UPI for feature phones as well. RBI believes that with the introduction of the UPI facility for feature phones, the use of digital payments will increase in villages.  This will increase the reach of financial services. Many people in villages do not have smartphones.  Apart from this, the availability of the internet is also not guaranteed there.

The procedure of payment through UPI123PAY:

 According to RBI, four options will be given to users to make payment by giving a menu of options and will add these features later. Through NPCI, feature phone users will be able to make payments in four ways.

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  • IVR system or voice-based system, in which users can make safe transactions by calling the given number of NPCI. For this, one has to dial the number 08045163666 from the phone and follow the instructions on the IVR.
  • Except for Scan and Pay, all transactions will be done through this app-based channel, there will be an app in the feature phone. All transactions will be offered on the UPI app on the smartphone, except for the scan and payment feature. RBI is working on bringing Scan and Pay feature soon.
  • Proximity sound-based payment. The transaction will be done by enabling sound waves enabled contacts and making contactless payments.
  • Missed call based system, in which users will have to give a missed call after which call back will be available. Users can make payments by entering UPI PIN.

Although, the facility of digital payment through feature phones was already present in the country, due to being USSD based, it was not widely used. Users can use mobile banking without a smartphone or an internet connection by using the *99# code.

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