Gupshup is in discusses about several handset producers to preload its UPI payments app, GSPay, on their feature phones, having released the app with Nokia-branded phone maker HMD last week. The organisation is the first to develop a native payments app for feature phones, which uses SMS messaging to execute UPI payments without needing a data plan or internet connectivity. It also allows a feature phone with a camera capability to scan QR codes to make payments.
"We are in talks with other handset makers, having announced a partnership with HMD. As they roll out devices, we expect the service uptake to pick up in hundreds of thousands of devices," Gupshup CEO Beerud Sheth. "But, for us, it is a bigger point to make. The focus is on UPI. The reason why we did it is because we want to enable rich experiences with the messaging channel. This innovative capability will bring vast numbers of feature phone users into the digital and payments ecosystem."
According to the company, 51.3% of Indians do not have access to the internet, and GSPay will help them make utility and 'procure to pay' payments without any data connection. The company claims that the app has multiple levels of encryption and authentication to ensure user security.
Gupshup focuses on the roll-out of the service by handset makers in the first phase but will work on monetising the app by adding gaming, ecommerce and entertainment services. "We want to prove this in the market first. For monetisation, we need to work with partners. This is just the first step for us," said Sheth.
He said his team visited China a few years ago to work closely with handset makers and develop the application at the ground level. "We have over a dozen engineers working on it," he said.
Gupshup has worked with the National Payments Corporation of India to develop GSPay. Gupshup.io is working with Airtel Payments Bank to process UPI transactions. It is leveraging UPI 123 Pay, an instant payment system launched by the RBI and NPCI last year for feature phone users.