ToneTag strikes a chord with UPI for a Digital India


ToneTag’s sound based technology enablescontactless transfer of the UPI virtual address at the point of sale, without the merchant or customer having to manually divulge the information.With UPI at the backend, ToneTag can make end to end digital payments in under 3 seconds at scale.Customers using ToneTag can make contactless payments from their feature phones, smartphones or tablets with just one-click using nothing but sound waves.ToneTag reduces digital acceptance costs for merchants by removing hardware dependencies.

At present, there is a misconception that mobile payments are to only serve the tech savvy urban consumer, but digital payments can help with the financial inclusion of a large number of Indians. Almost 2/3rds of the Indian population live in rural areas where they have limited access to financial services, as residents often have to travel large distances to be able to deposit, withdraw or transfer funds. Mobile payment enablers such as ToneTag possess the capability to completely transform the lives of millions of such Indians by removing the hardware dependencies involved with digital payments. By using its proprietary sound based technology, ToneTag is bridging the last leg of UPI; offline, in-store contactless payments.

A 2016 report by the Boston Consulting Group, in association with Google, said that digital payments will overtake cash payments in India by 2023, constituting at least 59% of all consumer payments by then. The report also states that by 2020 digital payments will be a $500 billion industry having grown 10 times its current value.

The Digital India initiative, has put pressure on the banks from the Indian government, to increase digital acceptance points in proportion to the number of payment cards issued. Currently only 1.24 million POS terminals serve the 665 million card holders in the country, according to recent RBI data. The goal is to have digital acceptance points within a 15-minute walk throughout the country. High cost of set-up and operation are the primary reasons due to which this hasn’t been possible yet. There is a need to improve infrastructure at rural and remote locations in a cost effective manner to ensure that financial services remain accessible to the majority. Hardware independent payment solutions such as ToneTag can help reduce the cost of digital acceptance.

Through the Indiantechnology stack of Aadhaar, e-KYC/e-Sign, UPI (Unified Payments Interface) etc., the government of India has ensured a robust framework over which, quick and secure payments could take placeat the backend. ToneTag promises to enable contactless payments using this infrastructure at the ground level. Since one has to exchange a single identifier, such as a phone number or a virtual address to make or receive payments through UPI, there is a need for technologies which could facilitate the seamless and contactless transfer of this identifier that represents payment information at the point of sale, without the merchant or customer having to verbally divulge the information. ToneTagcan be integrated with UPI to enable transfer of the single payment identifier through sound waves, while keeping the identifier anonymous and encrypted.

“This is a new chapter in the payment space. While UPI simplifies and quickens the speed of payments at the server / backend level, ToneTag plays a vital role in enabling quick contactless payments at the ground level. The ToneTag technology has the capability to completely transform the way people pay during an offline in-store transaction. In the coming days banks will offer UPI through ToneTag experience.” said Kumar Abhishek, founder and CEO, ToneTag

ToneTag which is available as an SDK(Software Development Kit), works over almost any device with a microphone or a speaker, irrespective of platform or specifications. The unprecedented technology utilizes alreadyexisting point of sale infrastructure such as EDC machines, smartphones, PCs to enable contactless acceptance. Customers using ToneTag can make contactless payments or cash deposit/withdrawals from their feature phones, smartphones or tablets with just one-click using nothing but sound waves.

The transmitted sound waves go through multiple layers of encryption, along with technologies such as whitebox cryptography, and tokenization to ensure payment security. Since ToneTag is available as an SDK, players in the payment ecosystem, such as banks, mobile wallets and financial service providers can easily integrate ToneTag with any oftheir UPI based payment apps to enable easy, quick and secure payments at the physical point of sale.

While UPI can handle payment mapping in milliseconds atthe backend, ToneTag can help the backend get the virtual address in a few seconds, making end to end digital payments possible in under 3 seconds at scale for the first time ever, as both the payment technologies perfectly complement each other’s capabilities. ToneTag sound based technology has already been evaluated and appreciated in a May 2016 documentby the NPCI.

As ToneTag can be integrated with any app, that operates on almost any device on any platform, to allow highly secure and contactless exchange of payment information, it’s extremely interoperable. The flexibility of the technology means it has found applications over a variety of use cases. The unique technology carries the potential to become the standard in contactless payments as financial service providers, governments, retailers and other players in the payment ecosystem discover and develop transformative payment products and services over ToneTag.


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