Paytm Enables UPI Recharge for Feature Phone Users


Paytm on Tuesday said it has partnered Vodafone Idea and National Payments Corporation of India (NPCI) to allow feature phone users to recharge their numbers using UPI.

“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,” Paytm said in a statement.

The move would help crore of citizens who mostly use feature mobile phones to now top up their numbers without having the need to visit physical stores, it added.

Paytm said that this service is based on the NPCI’s payment service *99# which works on the Unstructured Supplementary Service Data (USSD) channel.

This service allows mobile banking transactions using basic feature phones without the need of having a mobile internet data facility for using USSD based banking.

“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,” Paytm Senior Vice President Abhay Sharma said.

Praveena Rai, chief operating officer of NPCI said the USSD-based service would facilitate feature phone users having a UPI ID to keep in touch with their near and dear ones even if they don’t find mobile recharge shops in their localities.

“The USSD service would also help people register their UPI IDs on BHIM UPI and provide them with a seamless mobile recharge experience,” Rai added.

Avneesh Khosla, Director-Marketing of Vodafone Idea Ltd said in the last two months, the company has launched a slew of initiatives to help consumers stay connected.

“We believe that this partnership with Paytm will help facilitate a large number of our digitally unconnected customers to recharge through USSD without being dependent on mobile internet, any digital app, or a physical retail touchpoint,” he added.

If a customer’s UPI ID is not registered with BHIM UPI, they then need to dial *99# after which they are shown all bank accounts linked with the mobile number from where the USSD is dialled in.

The customer then selects the bank account he wants to register his UPI ID with and sets up a UPI PIN.


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