The government, in partnership with telecom and IT industry, has introduced a toll-free helpline – 14444 – to identify consumer queries on digital payments. The helpline will report questions regarding various paths, containing the newly-launched Bharat Interface for Money (BHIM), e-Wallets, Aadhaar-enabled payment system and USSD.
“This helpline ‘14444’ is accessible in North as well as Eastern part of the country in English and Hindi and will soon be extended pan India, and in other languages,” Telecom Secretary J S Deepak added. The helpline has been organized jointly by Department of Telecom in collaboration with software association NASSCOM, telecom industry as well as the IT industry, officials stated.
All telecom companies are participating in the initiative and the helpline will be available to subscribers of all operators. The cost of the project is initially being borne by the industry. After a few weeks, the government is likely to proceeds a decision on financial support for the initiative after taking into account the emerging call traffic patterns. For now, the bandwidth is being delivered by private sector telecom companies and call center infrastructure is being provided by the IT-BPO industry, sources claimed.
The helpline is aimed at consumers who want to start using USSD, BHIM, UPI or any digital payment policy and need help to do so, or have certain queries. Such consumers can call up the helpline, which is a cooperating voice response system, and in situation of specific queries, can also select to state to an agent. Digital payment channels like mobile wallets, USSD and RuPay have seen enormous uptake and increase in transactions after demonetization was proclaimed on November.
The value of transactions on USSD – mobile short code message reprocessed mainly for banking services on feature phone – during the same epoch produced 4,061 percent from Rs. 1 crores a day to Rs. 46 crores on December.
In value terms, it grew 64.7%, from 1.93 crores a day to 14 crores. On December, Prime Minister Narendra Modi presented an indigenous digital payments app BHIM for fast and safe cashless transactions using mobiles. BHIM is a payment stage designed to create UPI and USSD payment methods simpler and usable across feature phones and smartphones.