Reserve Bank of India (RBI) Governor Shaktikanta Das on Tuesday launched the country’s most famous unified payments interface (UPI) service for feature phones. Termed as UPI123PAY, the service will allow 40 crore feature phone users across India to access the payment service.
So far UPI was available only across all smartphones in India but with the latest move, feature phone users will also be allowed to send and receive payments.
Additionally, the central bank also launched a 24×7 helpline for digital payments called DigiSaathi.
Speaking at the launch, Das said that the UPI recorded 453 crore transactions worth Rs 8.26 lakh crore in February 2022, which is almost double in comparison to a year ago. He said in the financial year 2020-21, the total value of transactions done on UPI was around Rs 41 lakh crore whereas in the current fiscal so far the total volume of transactions is Rs 76 lakh crore and added that the day is not far when the overall volumes will touch Rs 100 lakh crore.
In his speech, Das said that as of now the multifaceted features of UPI are mostly available only on smartphones, which excludes people from the lower rung of the society from an economic perspective, especially in the rural areas, from accessing the popular service, even though the smartphone prices are going down.
The UPI123Pay service is a three-step method to initiate and execute services for users, which will work on phones which do not have an option for internet connection. Presently there are an estimated 40 crore mobile phone users who possess feature phones.
These users will now be able to undertake a host of transactions by 1. calling an IVR (interactive voice response) number, 2. app functionality in feature phones, 3. missed call-based approach and 4. also proximity sound-based payments.
Users will be able to make payments to their friends and family, pay their utility bills, recharge FASTags, pay mobile bills and also check their account balances, the central bank said, adding customers will also be able to link bank accounts, set or change UPI PINs.
The RBI governor also launched a 24×7 helpline for digital payments which will assist callers with their queries on digital payments through their website and chatbot. Users can log on to http://www.digisaathi.info or call on 14431 and 1800 891 3333 from their phones to avail this.