Offline payment aggregators will now be under the same government regulations as the online payment aggregators to strengthen synergy and convergence on standards of data collection and storage, RBI Governor Shaktikant Das said during the central bank’s monetary policy speech, on Friday. The central bank brought the online payment aggregators under its purview from March 2020. Now, the RBI will also include the offline aggregators.
The announcement by the RBI mentioned the importance of the role of payment aggregators in establishing a healthy payment ecosystem. However, until now, the regulations were imposed only on aggregators which handled online or e-commerce transactions. Offline aggregators, which deal with payments where the customer and the merchant are both present to make the transactions or are in a proximity, were not covered. “These regulations do not cover offline payment aggregators who handle proximity/face-to-face transactions and play a significant role in the spread of digital payments,” Das said.
Keeping in view the similar nature of activities undertaken by online and offline payment aggregators, the RBI, in its monetary policy, proposed to apply the current regulations to offline aggregators as well. “This measure is proposed with an intention to foster synergy in regulation covering activities and operations of aggregators, in addition to convergence on data standards,” RBI Guv Shaktikanta Das said. Commenting on the development, analysts at YES Securities said that this step is indicative of RBI’s focus on the Indian payment landscape and regulating the same effectively. Detailed instructions regarding the policy are yet to be announced.
Earlier this month, RBI, at the Global Fintech Fest in Mumbai, also announced three key initiatives pertaining to the Unified Payments Interface (UPI). The central bank announced the launch of RuPay Credit Card on UPI, which will enable the acceptance of credit cards using assets like QR codes. The credit card will be linked to a Virtual Payment Address, which will foster safe payment transactions. The second initiative launched was UPI Lite, which is aimed at decreasing the debit load on the core banking system. UPI limit will cap the total limit of an on-device wallet at Rs 2000. The third initiative was the Bharat BillPay Cross-Border Payments, which, as the name suggests, will make bill payments easier for people residing out of India.