Lava launches internet-less payments app for feature phones

According to the NPCI's website, the platform currently includes 99 partner banks, ... Using the GSM network means USSD can work irrespective of the ...
Lava launches internet-less payments app for feature phones
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NEW DELHI: Indian mobile phone manufacturer Lava has introduced a new internet-less payment solution meant for feature phones. The app uses the Unstructured Supplementary Service Data (USSD) platform to make payments over a mobile GSM (Global System for Mobile) network and doesn’t require active internet connections.

The catch though is that the user you are sending money to, and the involved banks, also need to be registered on the National Payments Corporation of India’s (NPCI) USSD platform. According to the NPCI’s website, the platform currently includes 99 partner banks, including Allahabad Bank, Andhra Bank, Airtel Payments Bank, Axis Bank, Bank of Baroda and more.

Lava said the system also works using the Unified Payments Interface (UPI). According to the company, as long as a user is registered on UPI, a Lava Pay user can send money to you irrespective of whether you are using the app or not.

While this is not the only USSD-based payments solution in India, it is one of the few. USSD also doesn’t necessarily require an app and you can simply send/receive money, check balance etc. by dialing predetermined (*99#) USSD codes. By making an app around it, Lava is eliminating the need for users to actually find out what those numbers are.

While USSD payments are available for smartphones, they are meant for rural areas where feature phones are more prevalent and internet connectivity isn’t as ubiquitous as in urban areas. Using the GSM network means USSD can work irrespective of the availability of data connections.

At the moment, India has approximately 550 million feature users, claims Lava. While feature phone to smartphone upgrades have been happening for a while now, many reports have claimed that the upgrades are slowing down due to a lack of improvement in smartphones.

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source https://www.livemint.com/companies/news/lava-launches-internet-less-payments-app-for-feature-phones-11584005144372.html

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