RBI Notification

RBI Launches UPI123Pay for Feature Phones


The Governor of the RBI launched UPI for feature phones which will allow India’s feature phone users to access UPI payment service.  He also announced the launch of a helpline for digital payments called DigiSaathi in an RBI event. The UPI payment service on feature phones will be called UPI123Pay. According to a report there are 40 crore mobile phone users who own a feature phone. Hence, the introduction of UPI123Pay will benefit a sizeable number of people.

Objective of launching UPI123Pay

The RBI governor remarked that the launch of UPI for feature phones will help those people to access UPI services who cannot afford smartphones, especially in rural areas.  He further added that the launch of this service will also help National Payments Corporation of India to reach its goal of processing billion transactions in a single day. National Payments Corporation of India is the umbrella organisation for operating retail payments and settlement systems in India.

He also said that through this new service, RBI will be able to attain its objective of less cash economy.

The option of making Digital payments via feature phones was prevalent in the country earlier also, but it never picked up as it was USSD based. Unstructured Supplementary Service Data based services is an option where the users can use mobile banking without a smartphone or without an internet connection by using the *99# code. However its process is tedious, it is also chargeable and not every telecom operator extend this facility.

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What is UPI?

UPI stands for Unified Payments Interface. Through UPI, one can transfer and receive funds instantly. All you need to do is link your bank account in a single app and make fund transfers without providing IFSC or account number.

What is UPI123Pay?

The following points may be noted:

  • UPI123Pay involves a three step method for initiating and executing services for users which can work on feature phones. A feature phone refers to a kind of mobile phone that may have more features than a standard cellphone however, it is not equivalent to a smartphone.
  • This payment method on feature phone will enable customers to use feature phone for all transactions. However, one cannot scan and pay;
  • One of its significant features is that it doesn’t require an internet connection for making transactions. You need to link your bank account with feature phones to use this method of payment;
  • The RBI said that feature phone users can now undertake various transactions based on 4 technology alternatives. It includes calling an IVR number, app functionality in feature phones, missed call-based approach and proximity sound based payments-
  1. App based functionality– An app will be installed on the feature phone via which various UPI functions, will be available on feature phones.
  2. Missed Call– It will enable users to access their bank account and perform routine transactions like receiving, transferring funds, regular purchases, bill payments, etc., just by giving a missed call on the number displayed at the merchant outlet. The customer shall obtain an incoming call to authenticate transaction by entering the UPI PIN.
  3. Interactive Voice Response– UPI payment via pre-defined IVR numbers will require users to make a secured call from their feature phones to a number and complete the UPI on-boarding formalities, which will allow them to start making financial transactions without an internet connection.
  4. Proximity Sound-based Payments– This uses sound waves to perform contactless, offline, and proximity data communication on any device.
  • Users will be able to initiate payments to friends and family members, pay the utility bills, recharge the FAST TAG[1] of their vehicles, pay their mobile bills and also allow users to check account balances;
  • Users will be able to link bank accounts, set or change UPI PINs.
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How to make payments through UPI123Pay?

Users will have to link their bank account with UPI123Pay then you need to set the UPI PIN. Once the PIN is set, you can make payments through the IVR number or RBI app or voice/sound method or by missed call method.

One of the easiest ways to make payments through UPI123pay is by calling IVR number. You just need to call 08045163666 from the phone and select the preferred language and press 1 to transfer money. Select the bank linked with UPI by saying the name of the bank and press 1 to confirm. Provide your mobile number and enter the amount to be transferred. Enter the PIN to authorise and complete the transaction. 

What is Digisaathi?

Apart from the UPI for feature phones, a 24×7 helpline for digital payments has also been formed by National Payments Corporation of India (NPCI). This helpline named ‘Digisaathi’ shall assist the callers/users with all their issues/queries on digital payments through the website and chatbot. Users may visit the website at the link- www.digisaathi.info or call on the number- 14431 & 1800 891 3333 from their phones for their queries on digital payments.


The launch of the UPI123Pay has been aimed at digitalising payments for people who have remained largely excluded from the digital scheme of things, especially people from rural areas. The uniqueness about it is that no internet connection is required while doing transactions. This eliminates the trouble of poor internet connectivity and such other issues. This is another initiative towards ensuring digitalisation of payments service. Before this various other digital payment solutions have been introduced as well such as AePS, USSD etc.

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