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Digital payments had been gaining popularity over the past few years, but they became a necessity with the Covid-19 outbreak and the subsequent lockdowns. People locked in their houses had to pay for daily necessities and utilities online. Fear of the coronavirus being transferred through cash also encouraged vendors and customers to opt for digital modes of payment.

While there exists methods like net banking and card payments, none are as comfortable as Unified Payments Interface (UPI). A few clicks and one code entry is enough to complete a payment, saving the customer from remembering lengthy details like card or account numbers or waiting for the OTP to arrive. The service can be utilised across platforms like Google Pay, PhonePe, Paytm, Airtel Payments Bank, Amazon Pay and others.

But these platforms need an internet connection to carry out UPI transactions. So what to do if you need to send money across without internet. It can be done using the National Unified USSD Platform (NUUP), commonly known the ‘*99#’ service. National Payments Corporation of India (NPCI) had launched the USSD service in November 2012, almost four years before it launched the UPI network. These two digital payment methods have since been integrated, allowing users to make UPI transactions even without an internet connection.

This is how you can use the *99# service to make UPI payments without internet.

Step 1: Register yourself on the BHIM app if you haven't to create your UPI account. Make sure that the correct phone number and bank account are linked.

Step 2: Go to your phone's dialer, enter ‘*99#’ and press the call button. This will take you to a numbered menu with seven options, including Send Money, Receive Money, Check Balance, My Profile, Pending Requests, Transactions and UPI PIN.

Step 3: To send money, type 1 in the text field. This will allow you to carry a transaction using either your UPI ID, bank account number and IFSC code or phone number. Choose the method of your choice.

Step 4: If you choose UPI, then you will have to enter the recipient's UPI ID. If you select bank account, then you have to enter the beneficiary's account number and IFSC code. If you go for the phone number options, then you need to enter the recipient's phone number.

Step 5: Now you need to enter the amount you wish to transfer, same as any other digital transaction platform.

Step 6: Enter your UPI PIN number in the last step. Press ‘send’ to complete the transaction. You will get a confirmation will appear on your phone once the transaction is complete. You will be asked the save the beneficiary as a favourite for future transactions. Be careful, using the service will cost you a meagre fee of 0.50.

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