Bill Gates 'Grand Challenge': Develop Feature Phone Payments Solution and Win Rs 35 Lakh

Bill Gates Grand Challenge: Develop Feature Phone Payments Solution and Win Rs 35 Lakh
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Highlights

The last date to apply for the contest is January 12, 2020. Winners will be announced on March 14, 2020.

India is creating a massive wave in digital payments, with the fastest-growing smartphone markets in the world. There are around 50 crore feature phone users in India and to make the entire population transact digitally, these feature phones users cannot be ignored.

United Payments Interface (UPI) is claimed to be clocking 100 crore transactions per month on smartphones. National Payments Corporation of India (NPCI) claims out of these transactions, less than 5 lakh are happening on feature phones via *99# service. The main reason is digital payments via feature phones is not easy and highly complicated for feature phone users where the experience is similar to using USSD codes.

To come up with a solution to facilitate feature phone users to transact digitally via UPI, NPCI has partnered with Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation and CIIE.CO for global competition.

Here is all that you need to know about the contest:

1. This global contest is open to individuals, startups and big enterprises


Dubbed as the 'Grand Challenge Payments Using Feature Phones', this contest is open to everyone across the globe and three winners will be selected. The last date to apply for the contest is January 12, 2020. Winners will be announced on March 14, 2020

2. NPCI will provide support and tools to selected individuals or startups


The shortlisted contestants will be given access to NPCI APIs on February 11, 2020, to understand the technical requirements for creating the solution. The selected contestants will be provided with mentoring support from experts at NPCI to help them streamline their solution.

3. Start-ups will get the chance to pitch for a seed fund


The website says the selected start-ups will have the opportunity to pitch to the CIIE.CO team during the contest. "CIIE.CO can also facilitate introductions to other investors on a case to case basis. Winners will be evaluated for further acceleration/investment support via the Bharat Inclusion Initiative," it said.

4. The winner will get receive Rs 35 lakh and the chance to pilot its solution with NPCI


The first prize is $50,000 and the chance to pilot its solution with NPCI. The second and third prizes are $30,000 and $20,000 respectively, excluding taxes.

5. The product pitch and demos will judge the winners


As per the website, "Applications will be received only through the online process. CIIE.CO & NPCI will shortlist the most promising solutions for further support. Wherever needed, these solutions will be provided with access to NPCI sandbox and technical support so that demo-able products can be created. The winners will be selected from the shortlist based on the product pitch and demos towards the end of the program."

6. The feature phone payments solution should be simple, highly secured and these basic features


NPCI will judge the solution on four parameters: Simplified user onboarding, Enhanced transaction experience, Highest security standards and Automated dispute resolution. The solution should have Real-time issue resolution mechanisms, Improved payment interfaces and workflows, Integrated bill payment features, Enhanced P2P and merchant payment solutions and End-to-End encryption.

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