Pushed by the demonetisation in 2016 towards a less cash society, the rapid growth in digital payment technology and more importantly, the introduction of the Unified Payments Interface (UPI) has changed the way of making payments in India.
The dearth of hard cash after demonetisation has actually helped people counter the exigencies during the Covid-19 lockdowns.
While having the machines to swipe debit and credit cards was not feasible for people like a vegetable seller or a rickshaw Puller, UPI gives access to digital payment to anyone having just a mobile phone – be it a smartphone or just a feature phone.
“Unified Payments Interface (UPI) has been a game changer in real-time payments – broadening digital financial inclusion through innovations such as UPI 123Pay and UPILite locally and building digital sovereignty globally through partnerships with international networks,” said Rohit Kumar, Founding Partner, TQH Consulting.
If no smartphone is there, benefits of UPI may still be availed by using the UPI 123Pay on a feature phone.
UPI 123Pay helps even a non-smartphone user to do transactions by using his/her feature phone with and without an app.
In the case of a feature phone with an app, the phone/handsets will have apps installed by mobile phone manufacturers where you can make payments without using the internet. You just need to register yourself on the feature phone app and start doing payments easily.
Even if no app is there, you can do payments from any feature phone by using IVR, miss-call pay, etc.
The limit per transaction on UPI 123Pay is Rs 5,000 and the limit on per day transactions is Rs 1 lakh.
If you are fearful of losing all your money in case of a cyber fraud while availing the full benefits of UPI on your smartphone, you may use UPILite app in your smartphone instead with limited transaction options.
As the total ‘on device’ limit of UPILite balance shall be Rs 2,000 at any point in time or such other limits as may be prescribed by NPCI, from time to time, the maximum loss in case of a cyber fraud will be up to Rs 2,000 only. But you may face difficulties in using the app, as the upper limit of a transaction currently is Rs 200 only.
So, UPI proves to be a game changer in the digital payment sector as it allows any mobile phone user to transact digitally with or without limitations, depending on the mobile device and the variant of the UPI app used.
However, maintaining the UPI payment network involves a significant amount of cost, which, if not recovered from the stakeholders, would make the process unsustainable.
“Today, UPI is at a critical juncture – with debates around the cost of operation beginning to emerge, and the need for meaningful competition among payments app providers becoming evident. It is time to engage the ecosystem to find workable solutions that will continue the popularity of India’s homegrown payments interface for years to come,” said Kumar.