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Current Affairs


Date: 12 March 2022 Tags: Monetary Policy & RBI


The unified payments interface (UPI) service will now be available for feature phones without internet through RBI’s UPI123Pay.



The technology has been introduced to accelerate the process of digital adoption in India and create an ecosystem that can accommodate larger sections of population.


The UPI system

  • The UPI is one of the most popular methods of payment. However, the technology is limited to internet-enabled smartphones.

  • Trends show that majority of the UPI in India is mostly used for smaller retail transactions.


Potential of new technology

  • Providing the UPI technology on feature phones without an internet connection could help it penetrate into rural areas of the country.

  • It will drive volume of payments on the platform and enhance financial inclusion and digital adoption.


Using UPI123Pay

  • The technology will be a three step approach to perform transactions. In the first step, the user has to give a missed call to a number displayed at merchant outlet.

  • They will be receiving an incoming call to authenticate their transaction. They will have to type their UPI pin to confirm.



IVR (interactive voice response) number, app functionality in feature phones, missed call-based approach and also proximity sound-based payments.



  • The feature is likely to cater to 40 crore feature phone users and help to increase digital financial inclusion in rural parts of the country.

  • This will enable people at the bottom of the pyramid, who cannot afford smart phone and internet. It will also benefit those living in areas where there is little connectivity.


UPI popularity

  • UPI has recorded more than 450 crore transactions worth Rs 8.26 lakh crore in February 2022. This was double the amount a year ago.

  • The existing alternative method of using UPI through National Unified USSD Platform from code *99#, has not gained traction.