National Payments Corporation of India launches NFC-enabled QR codes and contactless voice payments on UPI

The National Payments Corporation of India (NPCI) has unveiled a suite of United Payments Interface (UPI) services that includes UPI Tap & Pay NFC-enabled QR codes, QR code-enabled ATM withdrawals, the addition of support for offline NFC payments to the UPI Lite X digital wallet, and Hello! UPI and BillPay Connect conversational payment systems.

National Payments Corporation of India (NPCI) logo

UPI Tap & Pay’s NFC-enabled QR codes allow consumers to pay for in-store purchases by tapping their NFC device rather than by scanning the QR code itself, while AI-driven Hello! UPI and BillPay Connect enable users to initiate and complete digital payments using UPI on their smartphone or Internet of Things (IoT) device with just their voice.

According to the NPCI, the NFC-enabled UPI Lite X digital wallet will enable users to “send and receive money whilst being completely offline, therefore, allowing users to initiate and execute transactions even in areas with poor connectivity, such as underground stations, remote areas etc”.

UPI Tap & Pay will also be “a significant move towards enhancing QR code and NFC technology adoption”, the NPCI adds.

“In addition to the conventional scan and pay method, users now have the option to simply tap NFC-enabled QR codes at merchant locations to complete their payments.”

Voice payments

“The introduction of conversational UPI payments will augment user experience by enabling them to make voice-enabled UPI payments via UPI apps, telecom calls and IoT devices in Hindi and English, and will soon be available in several other regional languages,” the NPCI says.

“This expansion will broaden payment accessibility for most Indians who are fluent in their native languages, providing significant benefits to senior citizens and digitally inexperienced individuals.

“Users can simply give voice commands to transfer funds and input [their] UPI PIN to complete the transaction.”

With BillPay Connect, consumers can “conveniently fetch and pay their bills by sending a simple ‘Hi’ on the messaging app”, the NPCI says.

“Along with this, customers without smartphones or immediate mobile data access will be able to pay bills by giving a missed call. Customers will receive an immediate call back for verification and payment authorization.

“Additionally, BillPay Connect offers [the] Voice Assisted Bill Payments facility. Customers can fetch and pay bills through voice commands on their smart home devices and get instant voice confirmation.

“Moreover, instant voice confirmations will be enabled for bill payments made at physical collection centres through payment soundbox devices.”

The Reserve Bank of India announced that the UPI Lite digital wallet would soon be adding support for NFC payments in August.

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