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RBI to allow UPI-based payments through feature phones; here's what it means for you

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RBI policy: RBI will soon make internet-free payments system possible by proposing UPI-based products for feature phone users. Details here

RBI to allow UPI-based payments through feature phones; here's what it means for you
The Reserve Bank of India (RBI) on Wednesday said it will soon be launching Unified Payments Interface (UPI) based payment products for feature phone users. This means individuals will be able to make direct payments via UPI to other individuals via feature phones also.
Currently UPI cannot be used to make payments via feature phones.
Hailing the move, Bipin Preet Singh, Managing Director, Co-Founder, and CEO at MobiKwik said that the acceptance of UPI payments through feature phones is a welcome step by the Reserve Bank of India (RBI).
“It will widen the horizon of financial inclusion in India and enable digital footprint for masses, a prerequisite for evaluating the credit worthiness of an individual. It is a game changer of sorts for a common man in India who can now be eligible for other financial services such as buy now pay later, digital insurance, small ticket loans as well,” he said.
Seconding Singh’s views, Amit Kumar, Founder at GalaxyCard said enabling UPI on feature phones will be a big enabler for digital payments as they are highly penetrated in India.
As of now UPI has been working on smartphones with internet connection. However, a large number of people who have feature phones have been unable to carry out UPI transactions through using such phones.
RBI’s proposal to add a new feature to UPI will enable such feature phone users to carry out payment transactions.
Notably, feature phones have National Unified USSD Platform (NUUP) as an option for availing basic payment services using the short code of *99#, but the same has not picked up. These products, coupled with other complimentary solutions, will facilitate UPI-based digital payment solutions on feature phones to promote wider digitisation.
According to Ajay Chaurasia, Head of Product, RupeeRedee, UPI has accelerated the country’s move towards a cashless economy and considering a significant number of feature phone users in the country, RBI’s plans to launch UPI payment for feature phones will bring them to mainstream digital payments.
“Being the largest retail payment system in terms of volume of transactions, UPI works remarkably in replacing cash for low-value transactions. Strengthening the security and improving digital payment infrastructure for feature phones will allow a larger rollout of the service. In addition, it will help RBI to reach out to underserved populations or potential users located in low-connectivity areas by deploying cost-saving methods to provide increased access to digital payment methods. This, in turn, will help India achieve its national objective of financial inclusion by transforming the conventional way of making payments," Chaurasia said.
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