UPI Payment Option Coming Soon To Feature Phones

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Unified Payments Interface (UPI) is among the most used modes of payment done using smartphones in India. Now, the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) has made an interesting announcement that will bring this payment feature to feature phones.

 
UPI Payment Option Coming Soon To Feature Phones

In the official "Statement on Developmental and Regulatory Practices" RBI announced a new proposal. With this, RBI intends to bring UPI payments to feature phones. As of now, the central bank is yet to release further information regarding this new service.

UPI Payments For Feature Phone Users

Talking about the decision to roll out UPI payments for feature phones, Skaktikanta Das, the RBI Governor, stated that it is essential to bring feature phone users to the digital payments industry.

As per reports, there are 118 crore mobile phone users in India right now. Of this figure, 44 crore people still use a feature phone and 74 crore people use a smartphone. With this move, a majority of the feature phone users will start using the UPI payments feature.

Notably, during the first cohort of RBI Regulatory Sandbox, numerous investors showcased their solutions for feature phone payments. This came under the theme of 'Retail Payments'. Das noted that Das these payments products will be coupled with other complimentary solutions to facilitate UPI-based digital payment solutions on feature phones.

Eventually, such a move will promote wider digitization. RBI is all set to launch a UPI-based payment product for feature phone users sometime soon but further details regarding the same will be announced in the near future.

To recall, the NPCI (National Payments Corporation of India) launched the USSD mobile banking service *99#. Initially, this service was available only for BSNL and MTNL users and was later expanded to users of other networks.

 

Following this, in 2016, the Indian government introduced USSD 2.0 alongside BHIM. This incorporates all UPI Payment options. However, it did not help in boosting digital payments. In 2017-18, USSD 2.0 transactions accounted for a meager 4.3% of total UPI volumes and 1.6% of the total transaction value. In 2020, it was worse and USSD 2.0 share in volume and value transactions took a plunge to 0.005% and 0.004% respectively.

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