NPCI launches voice-based payments feature

NPCI announced the launching of new products, with them, users can make voice-enabled UPI payments via apps, telecom calls, and IoT devices in Hindi and English
NPCI launches voice-based payments feature
NPCI launches voice-based payments feature

New Delhi: The National Payments Corporation of India (NPCI) on Wednesday launched a slew of new payment options on the popular payments platform UPI, including conversational transactions.

The Reserve Bank of India (RBI) Governor Shaktikanta Das announced the launch of the products by the NPCI at the ongoing Global Fintech Festival here.

The latest offerings, Credit Line on UPI, UPI LITE X, and Tap & Pay, Hello! UPI and Conversational Bill Payments aim to create an inclusive, resilient, and sustainable digital payments ecosystem and will help UPI achieve the target of 100 billion transactions per month, NPCI said.

Hello! UPI, will help users .

It will soon be available in several other regional languages also.

Hello! UPI has been divided into segments: Conversational Payments on UPI, BillPay Connect.

Conversational payments underscores the emergence of a novel paradigm for human-machine interaction facilitated by AI-enabled transactions that will further deepen the reach and use of digital payments in the country, NPCI said in a statement.

NPCI said it has partnered with AI4Bharat at IIT Madras, to co-develop Hindi and English payment language models.

With BillPay Connect, Bharat BillPay introduced a nationalised number for bill payments across the country, NPCI said, adding that customers can conveniently fetch and pay their bills by sending a 'Hi' on the messaging app.

Along with this, customers without smartphones or immediate mobile data access will be able to pay bills by giving a missed call as well, it said.

Customers using this facility will receive a call immediately for verification and payment authorisation.

Additionally, BillPay Connect offers Voice Assisted Bill Payments facility. Customers can also fetch and pay bills through voice commands on their smart home devices and get instant voice confirmation, it said.

To expand access to credit, promote financial inclusion and innovation, NPCI has rolled out credit line on UPI.

This will enable pre-sanctioned credit lines from banks via UPI and will revolutionise customer access to credit, fostering a more streamlined and digital banking ecosystem, NPCI said.

With this, the process of availing, connecting, and utilising credit lines will be significantly expedited, driving economic growth and progress, it said.

The initiative has several key features, including linking pre-sanctioned credit lines, creation of digital credit products by banks, establishment of interest-free credit periods and corresponding interest rates, defined schedule of charges, customer engagement channels for credit sanction requests, and the ability to link various pre-sanctioned credit lines via UPI-enabled apps for transactions, it stated.

To ensure seamless interoperability, all UPI apps, including bank and third-party ones, will be empowered to discover and link credit lines on UPI, as well as provide end-to-end customer lifecycle services, it said.

Building on the success of UPI LITE feature, UPI LITE X was launched for offline payments.

Through this feature, users can send and receive money, while being offline, allowing users to execute transactions even in areas with poor connectivity, NPCI said.

UPI LITE X will be accessible to anyone with a compatible device that supports Near Field Communication (NFC), offering payments faster than other payment methods, as they require less time to process the transaction.

In a significant move towards enhancing QR code and NFC technology adoption, UPI Tap & Pay has been rolled out, NPCI said, adding that in addition to the conventional scan-and-pay method, users will now have the option to simply tap NFC-enabled QR codes at merchant locations to complete their payments.

The launch took place in the presence of Advisor to NPCI and Infosys Non-Executive Chairman Nandan Nilekani and Non-Executive Chairman of NPCI Biswamohan Mahapatra.

The launches aligned with the RBI communique in its recent monetary policy announcements, the NPCI said.

Terming the NPCI as the "crown jewel" of India's technology sector, Nilekani said it has far exceeded expectations.

The structure of NPCI was set up by the RBI in 2008 as a non-profit company for payments.

"It has set the stage for national information utilities. Using NPCI as the template, we have several bodies of similar structures, whether it is GSTM for taxes, DigiYatra app, ONDC," he said.

In 2016, there were 1,000 startups in the country, which has grown to 1 lakh in 2023, he added.

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