Vodafone Idea launches USSD based UPI powered recharge facility for feature phone users

Estimated reading time: 2 minutes, 8 seconds


  • Vodafone Idea has partnered with PayTM for this recharge facility
  • Works on USSD framework for feature phones without a data connection
  • Targeted at enabling non-smartphone users to recharge digitally using UPI

Vodafone Idea in partnership with PayTM has launched an industry-first initiative for providing a digital recharge facility to those subscribers who do not use a smartphone but have a basic 2G enabled feature phone and have a bank account linked to a UPI id. This move is aimed at enabling this user segment to be able to recharge their numbers during the lockdown period even without access to a mobile data connection. The process to do this has been described below.

This service is based on the innovative payment service *99# which works on the Unstructured Supplementary Service Data (USSD) channel. This service allows mobile banking transactions using basic feature phones without having to depend on mobile internet.

“It is our constant endeavor to ensure that our customers remain connected and safe during these times. In the last 2 months we have launched a slew of initiatives to help consumers stay connected.  We believe that this partnership with Paytm will help facilitate a  large number of our digitally unconnected customers to recharge through USSD without being dependent on mobile internet, any digital app or a physical retail touchpoint. Through this partnership we will be able to provide a simple and secure solution, enhancing the convenience factor to these pre-paid customers during very testing times so as to ensure that our consumers do not have to leave the safety of their homes to recharge their phones.”

Announcing the launch of this UPI based recharge facility, Avneesh Khosla, Director-Marketing, Vodafone Idea Limited said

Steps to follow in case Customer’s UPI ID is already registered with BHIM UPI 

  1. Customer dials in USSD code – *99*1*3# (USSD for UPI Money Transfer: Flow owned by NPCI)
  2. Customer’s bank account number linked to mobile number through which USSD is dialed is detected
  3. Enters the UPI id defined by Paytm ({mobilenumber}.{operator_name}@paytm). 
  4. Eg : Vodafone Customers can enter (98********[email protected]) and Idea customers can enter (98********[email protected])
  5. Enters amount
  6. Enters a remark (optional)
  7. Enters UPI PIN
  8. The transaction is successful and a UPI reference ID is generated 

Steps to follow in case Customer’s UPI id is not registered with Bhim UPI 

(Customer mobile number registered with the bank for UPI- UPI ID available – but no UPI PIN | Option available to set the UPI PIN)

  1. Dial *99# 
  2. Customer is shown all his/her bank accounts linked with the mobile number from where the USSD is dialed in 
  3. Customer selects the bank account he/she wants to register his/her UPI id with 
  4. The customer sets the UPI PIN

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Avatar of Esmail Beguwala
Esmail Beguwala

Senior Editor

Esmail is passionate about the Telecom spectrum, Broadband data services, and video streaming devices. When not writing an article, you can find him binge-watching shows on OTT apps, while sipping on a cup of coffee.

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