Gupshup launches UPI payment for featurephone users

Gupshup launches UPI payment for featurephone users

Tech News

New Delhi: Conversational engagement platform Gupshup has introduced UPI payments for people using feature phones via a native app called GSPay. The app, developed along with National Payments Corporation of India (NPCI), will use SMS or even IVR based payments system, and do away with the need of data or internet connectivity.

Gupshup said it was leveraging UPI 123 Pay, an instant payment system launched by the Reserve Bank of India and NPCI last year, to enable safe and secure payments for feature phone users. The app will be available on latest models of Nokia 105 and Nokia 106 4G feature phones, through partnership with HMD Global, which can be used for scanning QR codes to make payments.

“This innovative capability will bring the vast numbers of feature phone users into the digital and payments ecosystem. We’re glad to work with NPCI, Nokia and Airtel Payments Bank to make this a reality,” said Beerud Sheth, chief executive officer and co-founder, Gupshup.

Sheth told Mint that he expects 100,000 devices to be rolled out by HMD which will translate into adoption of the payments platform by customers. “We expect it to begin with 100,000 odd devices and then get to millions of devices. This of course will take time as payments on feature phones is something new and will need lot of awareness creation.”

He added that more services such as gaming, commerce or ticket booking, will be added to the platform going ahead, which will enable Gupshup to have a business model around UPI payments.

In response to whether the feature will not prompt people to upgrade to smartphones, Sheth said the functionality offered by the payment app plugged a key gap in feature phones, bringing these users at par with smartphone users when it comes to payments. “Feature phone to smartphone switching has anyway slowed down because of several other reasons- inflation, slowdown etc but this new feature surely gives one more reason for some users to defer their purchase,” he said.

With GSPay, new users can register for UPI, link bank accounts and set UPI PIN, within the embedded app. The app gives an option to make payments either via mobile number or UPI ID, completing the transaction in a simple two-step process. To make a payment, the user needs to enter the mobile number or UPI ID of the payee, the amount and UPI PIN. Upon confirmation, the payment is successfully completed and the user gets a notification.

The company is targeting 51.3% Indians that do not have access to the internet but still may need a mechanism to make utility and P2P payments, without any data connection. The app lets users pay bills, sends them actionable payment reminders and helps them keep a track of their outgoing and incoming transactions done on UPI. To ensure user security, the app has multiple levels of encryption and authentication built into it.

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