In an era where digital payments have become an integral part of our lives, the National Payments Corporation of India (NPCI) continues to push the envelope, striving to make financial transactions more inclusive, resilient, and sustainable. With a bold vision of achieving 100 billion transactions per month, NPCI has introduced a slew of groundbreaking features to transform the Unified Payments Interface (UPI) landscape. The announcement was made by Reserve Bank of India Governor Shaktikanta Das at the fourth edition of the Global FinTech Festival.
- Credit Line on UPI: Bridging financial inclusion gaps
One of the most significant advancements is the introduction of a Credit Line on UPI. This game-changing feature aims to expand access to credit and promote financial inclusion. This would be similar to borrowers having pre-sanctioned credit lines from banks readily available through UPI, revolutionizing how they access credit. This streamlined approach not only expedites the credit process but also fuels economic growth and progress. Key features include linking pre-sanctioned credit lines, creating digital credit products, defining interest-free credit periods and corresponding rates, transparent schedules of charges, and customer engagement channels for credit sanction requests. Moreover, all UPI apps, both from banks and third parties, will enable discovery and linkage of credit lines, ensuring seamless interoperability.
The availability of credit lines will be a major boost to the expansion of credit as it will encompass the section of India’s population that cannot afford large loans and subsequent repayments.
- UPI LITE X: Payments even in connectivity-challenged locations
Building on the success of UPI LITE, NPCI introduces UPI LITE X, an innovative feature that allows users to send and receive money even when offline. In regions with poor internet connectivity, this technology ensures that transactions can still be executed seamlessly. It’s accessible to anyone with a compatible device supporting Near Field Communication (NFC), offering faster payments compared to traditional methods due to quicker transaction processing times.
- Tap & Pay: QR Codes and NFC tech advancement
To enhance the adoption of QR codes and NFC technology, the NPCI has rolled out UPI Tap & Pay. This significant move simplifies the payment process further – users can now tap NFC-enabled QR codes at merchant stores, eliminating the need for scanning. It’s a leap forward in the world of digital payments.
- Hello! UPI: Voice-enabled payment convenience
Voice-enabled payments are now a reality with Hello! UPI. Users can make UPI payments via apps, telecom calls, and IoT devices in both Hindi and English. This feature aims to enhance accessibility and convenience for a broader spectrum of users. This feature will be accessible in two ways- Conversational Bill Payments and BillPay Connect.
4a. Conversational Bill Payments: AI-driven convenience
Conversational Bill Payments on UPI have introduced a novel paradigm for human-machine interaction, driven by AI. It is designed to deepen the reach and use of digital payments across the country, making the process more intuitive and user-friendly.
4b. Billpay Connect: Streamlined bill payments
For a seamless bill payment experience, NPCI has introduced BillPay Connect. It can be accessed using a nationalized number for bill payments (powered by Bharat BillPay), which simplifies the process significantly. Customers can fetch and pay bills by simply sending a ‘hi’ on their messaging apps. Even those without smartphones and internet access can pay their bills by giving a missed call, and they will receive a callback for verification and payment authorization. This voice-assisted bill payment facility extends to smart home devices, offering instant voice confirmation.
Fostering a more streamlined and digital banking ecosystem
In conclusion, NPCI’s latest innovations are poised to bolster the digital payment landscape in India. From credit accessibility and offline transactions to simplified payments via voice commands and AI-driven interactions, these features not only make digital payments more accessible but also contribute to a more sustainable and inclusive financial ecosystem. As the NPCI continues to push boundaries, the future of digital payments in India looks brighter than ever.
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