Simplified: Digital Transactions Without Internet


Offline digital payment appears to be fundamentally the opposite of online digital payment. However, the regulator is pushing for it to ensure that digitization reaches the last mile in rural India.

At a live-streamed ceremony, the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) announced the release of Unified Payments Interface (UPI) on feature phones, bringing the service to hundreds of millions of feature phone users.

Owners of feature phones will be capable of making UPI transactions even without internet access thanks to a technology called UPI123Pay. Significantly, feature phones are simple phones that only support voice calling and text messaging capabilities.

These advancements in technology include low-cost payment and remittance solutions that provide ease, including for smaller purchases in regions where access to the internet and smartphones is limited. Along with UPI123Pay, the event featured the inauguration of ‘DigiSaathi,’ 24-hour assistance for digital payments without the internet.

What is a Unified Payment Interface (UPI) System?

The Unified Payment Interface (UPI) is a single-interface payment system established by the National Payment Corporation of India (NPCI) and regulated by the Reserve Bank of India (RBI). It was launched in 2016. It is a solution that integrates a range of financial services and functionalities into a single app.

UPI integrates several bank accounts into a single mobile application. This mobile wallet app development system enables users to send and receive money instantaneously without sharing an account or bank information with the remitter.

Users are assign a unique UPI ID, which they can use to make or receive transactions using a secure PIN. Payments can also be made using a mobile phone link to the UPI ID.

UPI mobile money payment solutions was previously restricted to smartphone users and merchant locations. However, the introduction of the UPI123pay version will now enable feature phone users to utilize the service even if they do not have access to the Internet.

How to Create UPI ID to Use UPI123 Service

To generate a UPI ID over the phone, dial *99#, select your bank, and input your debit card’s last six numbers as well as the expiration date. You’ll be prompt to set up your UPI pin after everything is complete. The activation of the UPI ID is now complete.

You may transfer money, recharge FAST Tags for automobiles, pay for goods and services, as well as check your UPI-linked account balance with the UPI123PAY function. Aside from that, users will also be able to set or update the UPI PINs with the new feature.

Users will be able to conduct transactions using feature phones in four different ways:

1. App-based features

Several UPI capabilities, which are available on smartphones, will be available on feature phones via an app.

2. Missed Call

By making a missed call to the number shown at the merchant outlet, feature phone customers will be able to access their bank accounts. They can conduct normal operations including receiving, sending money, regular purchases, bill payments, and so on. An incoming call will be receive from the consumer, asking them to confirm the transaction by entering their UPI PIN.

3. Proximity Sound-based Payments

Sound waves are use to allow cashless, offline, and proximity data transfer on any device.

4. IVR (Interactive Voice Response)

To conduct transactions through IVR, users have to make a secure call from their feature phones to a specified number. And complete UPI onboarding processes to accomplish financial transactions without an internet connection.

The IVR service is one of the most straightforward methods to make use of the UPI 123 PAY functionality. You may learn how to use this feature by following these steps:

Step 1: Dial the IVR number “08045163666” on your phone. After that, you’ll be prompt to choose your prefer language to make the UPI payment process go more smoothly.

Step 2: Next, on your phone’s keypad, click the ‘1’ number to initiate a payment transaction.

Step 3: After that, you’ll be require to select the UPI-compatible bank. Users will next be require to verify the details by pressing the ‘1’ number on their phone’s keypad.

Step 4: Tap again on ‘1’ to send money by entering your mobile number. Then, input the recipient’s mobile phone number and confirm the details.

Step 5: Finally, input the amount you want to transfer, as well as the UPI pin that was previously set for transactions.

Furthermore, your UPI-PIN is a 4-6 digit passcode and should not be share with anybody. And your bank’s customer service will never ask for it.

24*7 Helpline “Digisaathi”

The RBI Governor also introduced a 24-hour helpdesk for digital payments, called ‘Digisaathi,’ to support callers/users with all digital payment-related problems via website and chatbots. At present, it is available in two languages – Hindi and English.

With the advent of UPI 123PAY, UPI amenities are now available to a segment of society that has hitherto been exclude from the digital payments landscape, promoting a high level of financial inclusion in our economy – Shaktikanta Das said at a central bank launch ceremony attend by NPCI and bank executives.

Users can get answers to their questions about digital payments. And complaints by going to or calling 14431 and 1800 891 3333 from their phones.

Bottom Line

The RBI’s framework will provide a much-needed boost to offline digital wallet application development across the economy, particularly in areas where high-speed Internet is still not accessible. We may expect greater adoption of digital payments in the country, as well as a massive shift from cash to digital payment, as this approach is effective immediately.

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