The toll free helpline for digital payments is now live. Citizens can call 14444 so that they can get more information on new digital payment methods such as the Unified Payments Interface (UPI), BHIM app, wallets and prepaid cards and debit and credit cards. The helpline was launched in collaboration with the IT and telecom ministry, as indicated by this PTI report.
The helpline was announced in December following the demonetization of Rs 500 and Rs 1,000 notes.
The helpline is made available to all subscribers on all telecom networks. But note that this helpline has a daily limit and allows users to call only thrice to access information.
The report added that the cost of the project will be borne by the industry, though it doesn’t specify which industry. Is it going to be the telecom operators or wallet players or banks?. It added that the government will take a decision on financial support for the helpline after taking in to account the call traffic patterns.
Currently, the helpline only has two languages, English and Hindi, and no other vernacular or regional languages. Although the PTI report mentions that it will be adding other languages as well.
We tried using the helpline and it first asks the user if they are a merchant or a customer. We tried the helpline to get some information regarding the digital payment methods and it lists the following:
– Debit cards
– Credit cards
– Prepaid cards and wallets
– USSD payments
On the first try on the helpline, we picked picked prepaid cards and wallets as an option to get information and the call ended saying that it would get back to us. On the the second try, we opted to speak to an executive to ask more information on wallets for merchants.
The executive said that there were many options for wallets and added that they could not recommend a particular service to be used. On pressing for more information, the executive gave us basic information of the USSD payments and the UPI (download the bank’s UPI app and register). The executive also gave basic information on the Aadhaar Enabled Payment System and directed us to find a micro ATM on Google.
Overall, the information on the the helpline was basic in nature and slightly more detailed questions were directed to banks and wallets. The information database for executives needs to be significantly updated and more training is required.