RBI may allow fintech firms to test regulatory sandbox

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Published: April 19, 2019 2:08:53 AM

A regulatory sandbox usually refers to live testing of new products or services in a controlled/test regulatory environment for which regulators may or may not permit certain regulatory relaxations for the limited purpose of the testing.

Focus on financial inclusion, payments and lending, and digital KYC, among othersFocus on financial inclusion, payments and lending, and digital KYC, among others

The Reserve Bank of India (RBI) on Thursday put out a draft enabling framework for regulatory sandbox (RS) for fintechs, including an indicative list of relevant products and services and fit-and-proper criteria for participants in the RS.

A regulatory sandbox usually refers to live testing of new products or services in a controlled/test regulatory environment for which regulators may or may not permit certain regulatory relaxations for the limited purpose of the testing.

“The RS allows the regulator, the innovators, the financial service providers (as potential deployers of the technology) and the customers (as final users) to conduct field tests to collect evidence on the benefits and risks of new financial innovations, while carefully monitoring and containing their risks,” the central bank said in the draft, which refers to each end-to-end sandbox process as a cohort.

The RS shall be based on thematic cohorts focusing on financial inclusion, payments and lending, and digital KYC, among other things. The cohorts may run for varying time periods but should ordinarily be completed within six months, the RBI said. The indicative list of products, services and technologies where the RS could be applicable includes retail payments, money transfer services, marketplace lending, mobile technology applications, data analytics and application program interface (API) services.

“The RBI may consider relaxing, if warranted, some of the regulatory requirements for sandbox applicants for the duration of the RS on a case-to-case basis,” the draft said.

However, regulatory requirements with respect to customer privacy and data protection, storage and access to payment data, security of transactions and KYC regulations will have to be mandatorily maintained.

Products and services such as credit registry, credit information, crypto currency, trade in crypto assets, initial coin offerings and chain marketing services will not be eligible for testing under the RS framework.

Comments on the draft framework can be sent in till May 8.

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