Vodafone Idea, Paytm and National Payments Corporation of India (NPCI) have all partnered up to enable UPI recharges on feature phones. Up until now, the users needed some kind of an app on their smartphone in order to make UPI payments. However, with this new feature, the users will be able to use UPI through NPCI’s payment service *99# that works via Unstructured Supplementary Service Data (USSD).
This is the right time to introduce such a feature as the users will no longer need to visit retail stores in order to get prepaid recharges done during the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.
Making the announcement, Paytm said in a statement, “Paytm is now empowering feature phone users to recharge for their Vodafone Idea numbers with just a valid UPI ID. Along with the telecom major and National Payments Corporation of India (NPCI) to extend this service throughout the country.”
In order to use this feature, the user will need a functional UPI ID first. The new USSD feature will also allow users to register a UPI ID, which will be linked to the user’s bank account. The user just needs to dial *99# and choose the bank account linked their phone number and set the UPI PIN.
Once the user has a valid UPI ID, they just need to dial *99*1*3# on the feature phone or smartphone to directly head over to the recharge portal. Here, the user will be asked to fill in his/her UPI ID, recharge amount and the UPI PIN. If everything goes well, the phone number will be recharged and the amount will be deducted from the user’s bank account.
Commenting on this, Paytm Senior VP, Abhay Sharma said, “There are over 550 million feature phone users in the country. A majority of them are migrants and daily wage earners. Due to the ongoing lockdown, many people who rely mainly on mobile phone stores, recharge kiosks are finding it difficult to top-up their basic feature phones which rarely have internet data facility”.