ToneTag completes RBI’s first cohort for voice-based retail payments; aims to enable digital payments for 600 million feature phone users

ToneTag has conducted successful tests in rural and urban zones for voice-based payment systems as per RBI guidelines, strengthening the mass adoption of the product.

Tonetag, the hardware-agnostic sound wave tech solutions provider for online and offline commerce, has completed the first cohort under the RBI sandbox for retail payments. The startup has successfully executed offline voice-based payments via feature phones and smart phones in areas with inconsistent internet connectivity.

In a conversation with YourStory, Kumar Abhishek, Co-founder and CEO, ToneTag, said,

"ToneTag technology, tested under the regulatory sandbox, overcomes all the challenges users are facing today by making digital payments convenient and available for everyone without a dependency on phone models (smartphone or feature), internet or apps."

The startup stated it now aims to enable digital payments for more than 600 million feature phone users, and will also offer a secure and seamless payment experience for smartphone users who have limited tech acumen or find existing payment options complex or confusing.

Image credit: ToneTag

He added ,

"As a result of the cohort's success, the technology can now be adopted by regulated entities to provide digital payments options to those who did not have access to the services till now. With this technology, anyone with any phone from any part of the country (rural or urban) can make digital payments by just dialling a number."

The company has been able to successfully make digital payments a reality for all, including for those who are not digitally savvy or find it difficult to use apps for banking or payments.

"The objective of the regulatory sandbox by RBI was to find and promote responsible innovation in financial services working towards creating frictionless solutions in the field of feature phone, contactless and online based payment services. The recognition and success of the cohort provides a validation to the technology which can be easily adopted by regulated entities to drive digital transactions and economy," says Kumar.

According to Kumar, while many smartphone users face inconsistent internet access across the country, many others find digital transactions complex and confusing, and this leads a majority of the population to resort to cash-based transactions. 

The company stated it is set to drive financial inclusion across geographies, and make digital payments convenient and available for everyone with a mobile phone, any make or model. 

"The success of this cohort was not based on technology alone, but convenience, security and user experience aspects also need to be taken into account. The outcome of the cohort depended heavily on the reception and reaction from the end user, who were mostly residents of rural areas. The users found this payment experience new, simple, and secure," stated the company.

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Edited by Anju Narayanan