RBI to extend UPI to feature-phone users

‘Move to deepen digital payments’

December 08, 2021 10:45 pm | Updated December 09, 2021 12:12 am IST - MUMBAI

The UPI facility will soon be extended to feature phone users. At the moment, the unified payments interface (UPI) — the single largest retail payments system in the country in terms of volume of transactions for small-value payments — is available only for smartphones.

“To further deepen digital payments and make them more inclusive, ease transactions for consumers, facilitate greater participation of retail customers in various segments of financial markets and to enhance the capacity of service providers, it is proposed to launch UPI-based payment products for feature phone users, leveraging on innovative products from the RBI’s regulatory sandbox on retail payments,” the RBI said.

The regulator has also proposed to make the process flow for small-value transactions simpler through an ‘on-device’ wallet in UPI applications. It has also decided to enhance the transaction limit for payments through UPI for the Retail Direct Scheme for investment in G-secs and Initial Public Offering (IPO) applications from ₹2 lakh to ₹5 lakh. Ajay Chaurasia, Head of Product, RupeeRedee, a digital lending app, said, “This move will help RBI to reach out to underserved population 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,” he added.

The RBI also decided to release a discussion paper on charges in payment systems.

“Concerted efforts by all stakeholders have led to a significant increase in digital payments in recent years. There have been some concerns on the reasonableness of various charges incurred by customers for digital payments through credit cards, debit cards, prepaid payment instruments [cards and wallets], UPI and the like,” the RBI said.

“It is proposed to release a discussion paper on various charges in the payment system to have a holistic view of the issues involved and possible approaches to mitigating the concerns so as to make digital transactions more affordable,” the RBI added.

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