Hello UPI: Voice-Powered UPI Payments Coming Soon

During this year’s Global Fintech Fest, Shri Shaktikanta Das, the Governor of the Reserve Bank of India (RBI), unveiled a series of cutting-edge innovations designed to augment the functionality of the Unified Payments Interface (UPI). These announcements align with RBI’s recent monetary policies, which seek to establish a robust digital payments ecosystem in India. As part of its efforts to drive UPI innovation, RBI has now revealed its intention to integrate conversational AI capabilities into the UPI system. Here are the specifics:

Voice-Powered UPI Payments on the Horizon!

To promote the adoption and convenience of digital payments in India, the National Payments Corporation of India (NPCI) is harnessing the potential of conversational AI. They’re introducing a feature called “Hello! UPI” that will soon enable users to perform hands-free UPI payments using payment-specific voice commands. Remarkably, users will even have the option to verbally input their UPI PIN, though this raises privacy concerns.

These AI capabilities will be deeply integrated into various payment methods, including telecom calls, IoT devices, and popular UPI apps like PhonePe, Google Pay, PayTM, and smart home assistants. To make this possible, NPCI is leveraging India’s own AI language model, Project Bhashini, in collaboration with the Nilekani Centre at AI4Bharat, IIT Madras. Initially available in Hindi and English, the service will expand to include several other regional languages.

Additionally, NPCI has introduced a nationalized number known as “BillPay Connect” through its Bharat BillPay app. Users can employ this number to pay bills and receive payment reports by simply sending a “Hi” message. For those without smartphones, a missed call to this number will suffice. This triggers an automated callback process to verify payment authorization.

Furthermore, the Voice Assisted Bill Payments feature of the Bharat BillPay app will allow users to retrieve and make hands-free bill payments using AI-powered voice commands. Upon successful completion, an audio confirmation will be provided. Vendors collecting payments via soundbox devices will also receive a similar confirmation.

The Global Fintech Fest 2023 has introduced several other notable initiatives, including the ability to access bank credit via UPI, the launch of UPI Lite X for offline payments, and the option to make Tap & Pay transactions using UPI on NFC-enabled devices.

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