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Paytm enables Vodafone Idea recharges for crores using feature phones with their UPI ID

Partners with telecom major and NPCI to launch this USSD based initiative

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India’s leading financial services platform 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. 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. The company added said that there is no need to have a mobile-internet data facility and non-Paytm app users can also easily avail of this service.

Paytm said that this service is based on the NPCI’s innovative 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. It is envisioned at the financial inclusion of the underbanked in mainstream banking services.

Paytm which is working towards the ultimate goal of bringing half a billion Indians into the mainstream economy, has taken part in this initiative to ensure that millions of migrants who might be away from home and have limited means, stay connected with their families.

Abhay Sharma, Sr. Vice President - Paytm said, "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. This USSD based service would help all these individuals. Through this partnership with Vodafone Idea and NPCI, we will reach out to all these individuals and support them in these testing times."

Praveena Rai, COO, NPCI said, “We believe our USSD service would facilitate feature phone users having a UPI ID, to constantly keep in touch with their near and dear ones even if they don’t find mobile recharge shops in their localities. The *99# service is a welcome move, especially in the current situation. With just a UPI Id, people using feature phones can recharge their phones on-the-go without the internet. The USSD service would also help people register their UPI IDs on BHIM UPI and provide them with a seamless mobile recharge experience”.

Avneesh Khosla, Director-Marketing, Vodafone Idea Limited said, “It is our constant endeavour to ensure that our customers remain connected and safe during these times. In the last 2 months, we have 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. Through this partnership we will be able to provide a simple and secure solution, enhancing the convenience factor to these pre-paid customers during very testing times so as to ensure that our consumers do not have to leave the safety of their homes to recharge their phones." The company said that there are two ways of recharging the phone using this service. 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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