India is one of the fastest-growing smartphone markets in the world, thus creating a huge ripple in digital payments. There are roughly 50 crore feature phone users in the country, and to enable the entire population to transact digitally, these users cannot be ignored.
United Payments Interface (UPI) is claimed to be clocking 100 crore transactions per month. But these transactions are majorly happening on smartphones. National Payments Corporation of India (NPCI) claims that less than 5 lakh of these transactions are happening on feature phones (through *99# service). One of the main reasons is due to the fact that digital payments via feature phones are not easy and highly complicated for feature phone users where the experience is similar to using USSD codes.
To come up with a solution to enable feature phone users to transact digitally via UPI, NPCI has partnered with Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation and CIIE.CO for global competition.
Here is everything you need to know about the contest that can help create this solution and the top prize money of $50,000 or around Rs 35 lakh.
- Dubbed as the ‘Grand Challenge Payments Using Feature Phones,’ this contest is open to all around the world and three winners will be selected
- The solution should ideally have Real-time issue resolution mechanisms, improved payment interfaces and workflows, integrated bill payment features, Enhanced P2P and merchant payment solutions, and End-to-End encryption.
NPCI will provide support and tools to selected individuals or start-ups
- The selected start-ups will have the opportunity to pitch to the CIIE.CO team during the contest. “CIIE.CO can also facilitate introductions to other investors on a case to case basis. Winners will be evaluated for further acceleration/investment support via the Bharat Inclusion Initiative,”
- Applications will be received only through the online process. CIIE.CO & NPCI will shortlist the most promising solutions for further support.
Wherever needed, these solutions will be provided with access to NPCI sandbox and technical support so that demo-able products can be created.
- Winners will be selected from the shortlist based on the product pitch and demos towards the end of the program
- NPCI will judge the solution on four parameters: Simplified user onboarding, Enhanced transaction experience, highest security standards, and automated dispute resolution.
The first prize is $50,000 and the chance to pilot its solution with NPCI. The second and third prizes are $30,000 and $20,000, respectively.
Note: that there will be a tax deduction.