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5% of UPI transactions to be voice-enabled in 2-3 yrs

RBI has recently launched 'Hello! UPI,' feature to bring millions of users who are constrained by the lack of smartphones, internet connectivity into the fold of digital payments

5% of UPI transactions to be voice-enabled in 2-3 yrs

In a groundbreaking move, Reserve Bank of India (RBI) Governor Shaktikanta Das announced a suite of new products, prominently featuring 'Hello! UPI,' unveiled by the National Payments Corporation of India (NPCI) at the Global Fintech Festival in September.

Virat Diwanji, Group president and Head of Consumer Banking at Kotak Mahindra Bank said, “UPI transaction through voice enabled mode will contribute around 5 per cent of total UPI transactions in next two to three years and will eventually grow as adoption increases.”

As conversational payments on UPI do not necessarily require a smartphone or internet connection, so, people staying in rural areas can access these features through their feature phones. These new features of UPI are aimed at bringing the millions of users who are constrained by the lack of smartphones, internet connectivity, and limited digital literacy into the fold of digital payments, he said.

Major transaction is estimated to be coming from UPI

For offline business, major application of voice based service is applying for loans, request for at will settlement through soundbox.

Individuals will be able to make UPI transactions through voice command from April. The National Payments Corporation of India (NPCI), in a circular, has asked banks, payment service providers and other stakeholders to enable the ‘Hello! UPI’ feature in their apps by March 31.

“To improve the access and experience on digital platforms which support payments, NPCI has introduced the ‘Hello! UPI’ as a feature to drive access and experience of UPI, assisted with voice,” said the NPCI in the guidelines sent to banks and payment service providers on October 27. “The UPI features such as user onboarding, balance inquiry, financial transaction, complaint resolution, etc will be enabled using voice commands by the user,” it added.

With the ‘Hello! UPI’ feature, a user will be able to complete the transaction by simply giving a voice command. For example, if a user wants to send money, he can open the UPI app and say Hello (name of the app) and make the payment to a person (name saved in contact list).

Similarly, if a user wants to check the account balance, he will be able to do so by giving the voice command. Currently, a user has to manually type the command to perform a transaction. Apart from apps, the user will also be able to use this feature through voice calls. They will be required to call a number and give instructions to complete the transaction.

This service will initially be rolled out in the English and Hindi languages, but gradually users will be allowed to use this voice command in 11 regional languages.

Bankers say the feature will be useful in taking banking services in rural and semi-urban areas. “Voice-based UPI transactions will help banks in the financial inclusion drive. There are many users in rural areas who find it difficult to do UPI transactions through text command. Voice-based command will be very useful for them,” head of digital banking of a public sector bank said.

Kumud Das
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