Mobile Payment Forum of India (MPFI), India's umbrella organisation responsible for deploying mobile payments in India, has called for developing multilingual and speech based payment apps. The forum led by IIT-Madras faculty has made recommendation to India's central bank to include features in payment apps such as customer support and grievance redressal in multiple Indian languages in order to enable financial inclusion i.e making digital payments accessible to all individuals and businesses at affordable costs.

MPFI has submitted these recommendations to Nandan Nilekani, Chairman, Reserve Bank of India (RBI) Committee, on the deepening of digital payments.

Notably, MPFI has played a key role in developing inter-operability and security standards for India's popular fund transferring service 'Immediate Payment Service' (IMPS) and later the Unified Payments Interface (UPI), which was built using IMPS only.

Other key recommendations of the MPFI include increasing women consumers and using voice-based features in Mobile Apps. The positioning of mobile internet, especially towards payments, may need judicious advertising within the social and cultural context.

In its recommendations, MPFI emphasize that presence of regional languages is a crucial component towards achieving inclusiveness and increase the help of mobile and digital payments in rural India.

Established in 2006, MPFI is a joint initiative of the Institute for Development and Research in Banking Technology (IDRBT) and Rural Technology Business Incubator of IIT Madras. With its latest recommendations, MPFI aims to enable mobile payments, and mobile financial services for everyone in India through secure, efficient and low cost transactions.

For strengthening the digital payments space and adding confidence and trust in the Indian consumer, the MPFI recommendations considered three broad perspectives, which include:

(i) User and Merchant perspective

(ii) Regulation, methods and processes

(iii). Standards for transactions, via channels like SMS.

Chairman of MPFI, Prof. Gaurav Raina, Department of Electrical Engineering, IIT Madras, said in a statement, "Most MPFI members feel there is still much to be done to increase awareness for the different modes of digital payments among users and merchants, and also about best practices for user's security."

"The MPFI can help by creating videos in different official languages to spread awareness on digital payments. These videos can then be used by all stakeholders in the ecosystem," he said.

Earlier this month, Reserve Bank of India (RBI) announced its vision document for Payment and Settlement Systems 'Vision 2021' detailing RBI’s outlook for the payments space.

The Vision 2021 document lays down 36 specific action points to be adopted during 2019-2021 to improve all aspects of payment systems including innovation in feature phone and USSD-based payments services, internal ombudsman (independent & impartial investigator for consumer complaints) for digital payments, geo-tagging of payment system touch points, enhancing contactless and tokenisation technology, national settlement services for card schemes and increasing adoption of distributed ledger technologies aka Blockchain.

Source - India Today, Times of India

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