No Internet, No Problem: UPI Payments Made Easy!

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No Internet, No Problem: UPI Payments Made Easy!


In situations where internet access is unavailable, individuals often encounter difficulties in conducting digital transactions. This presents a significant challenge, particularly in today’s digital age where online payments have become a norm. The Unified Payments Interface (UPI) offers a solution to this problem by enabling transactions without the need for data services. This functionality is made possible through the *99# USSD (Unstructured Supplementary Service Data) service, which is accessible on all mobile phones, including basic feature phones. Here’s a simplified guide on how to use this service for UPI transactions:

Initial Setup: First, ensure you have a UPI account linked to your mobile number. This can typically be done through any UPI-supported app where you’ll register your bank account and create a UPI ID.

Accessing the Service: To start a transaction without the internet, simply open your phone’s dialer and key in *99#. This code connects you to the UPI service over your mobile network.

Navigating the Menu: After dialing, you’ll see a menu with various options, including sending money, receiving money, balance inquiry, and managing your UPI PIN. Select your desired action by entering the appropriate number.

Making a Transaction: For sending money, you’ll follow prompts to enter the recipient’s details, such as their UPI ID, bank account number, or phone number. The process is guided and straightforward.

Authenticating the Payment: Enter the amount you want to send and your UPI PIN to authenticate the transaction. Your payment is then securely processed.

Limits and Fees: Transactions via *99# might have limits (for example, a cap on the amount per transaction) and can incur a small fee, which ensures the service is sustainably provided to all users (e.g., Rs. 5,000 per transaction, as noted in some sources) and may charge a nominal fee per transaction (e.g., up to Rs. 0.50).

This USSD-based payment service is an initiative by the National Payments Corporation of India (NPCI) to extend digital payment capabilities across the country, especially in regions with limited internet connectivity or for individuals without smartphones. It democratizes access to digital financial transactions, ensuring that everyone, regardless of their technological capabilities, can participate in the digital economy.

The service’s introduction is a significant step towards financial inclusion, providing a secure and straightforward method for conducting digital transactions without the need for internet access. It showcases the flexibility of the UPI platform in adapting to different user needs and technological environments, making digital payments a reality for a broader segment of the population.


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