As of March 2022, nearly 40 crore individuals in India use feature phones.
Almost 11 billion transactions are done through UPI in India, yet many without smartphones may not know how to make digital payments.
Even if you are a smartphone user you may struggle to transfer funds on an airplane when the internet is not accessible.
If feature phone users or smartphone users want to make online transactions for receiving or transferring funds, regular purchases, bill payments, etc, without an internet connection there are many ways.
NPCI's UPI Lite was the first breakthrough, enabling small-denomination transactions up to Rs 500 at a time through an on-device UPI wallet without using the remitter bank's core banking system.
Thus, faster transactions could be done in areas with limited connectivity. But it cannot help people for those without any internet connection as you need some limited connectivity.
UPI Lite X: A modified UPI Lite version, UPI Lite X, doesn’t require internet connectivity as it utilizes Near Field Communication (NFC) technology. To use this technology you have to be near the sender or receiver to transfer the funds. It requires both devices to be near each other and allows complete offline transactions.
This can also come to help in areas with poor internet connectivity such as underground stations, remote areas, etc., or areas of no internet connectivity such as in airplanes.
However, users must reconnect to the internet within four days of performing an offline transaction. UPI LITE X will be accessible to anyone with a compatible device that supports Near Field Communication (NFC).
The upper limit for transactions is Rs 500.
Using the same Near Field Communication (NFC) technology, just like the conventional Scan and Pay method, users can simply tap NFC-enabled QR codes at merchant locations to complete their payments.
This also requires no internet connectivity.
Instead of using the camera, Tap & Pay captures the Payee UPI ID/VPA through NFIC. For transactions up to Rs 500, UPI Lite X takes the lead, ensuring seamless payments.
Then look for the Tap & Pay button on your UPI App.
The transaction happens as soon as you tap your device on the UPI Smart Tag or UPI Smart QR. For amounts up to Rs 500, UPI LITE mode will be tried (if you've got it enabled), but if there is no internet or for a higher amount, it will be routed to another mode where you just have to enter your bank account UPI PIN.
Bharat BillPay owned by NPCI has a system called BillPay Connect that has a nationalized number for bill payments across India. Customers without smartphones or immediate mobile data access can pay bills by giving a missed call.
Dial 9167777776 and customers will receive an immediate call back for verification and payment authorization. You just have to enter your UPI PIN to complete the transaction.
123PAY UPI offers feature phone users the ability to make UPI payments without the internet.
To use this feature, users must complete onboarding formalities by dialing *99#, selecting the bank, providing details like the last six digits of the debit card and expiry date, and then setting up a UPI PIN.
Then, users have to call IVR (interactive voice response such as (080 4516 3666 & 080 4516 3581 & 6366 200 200).
Choose their preferred languages and services you want to avail like fund transfer, bill payment etc. Then enter the amount and UPI PIN to send the amount.