The Reserve Bank of India (RBI) has allowed the Bharat Bill Payment System (BBPS) to accept cross-border inward payments with an aim to ease the transaction process for non-resident Indians (NRIs). The move is not expected to impact revenues or fee income arising out of foreign exchange transactions, according to banks and analysts.
While the RBI will come up with detailed instructions on the facility, governor Shaktikanta Das said in a post-policy press conference that the feature has been introduced as a convenience tool and should not be seen as a measure to invite more remittances into the country.
The BBPS system is owned and operated by NPCI Bharat BillPay. The system offers an interoperable platform for standardised bill payment, customer grievance redressal mechanism and uniform convenience fee. The platform has on-boarded over 20,000 billers, and more than eight crore transactions are processed on a monthly basis. While the system is currently accessible by Indian residents, the central bank has allowed its extension to NRIs.
Whatever currency is permitted to be used on the BBPS ultimately has to be converted into Indian rupee, so forex revenue of the banks is not likely to get affected, CS Shetty, managing director of State Bank of India, said on a news channel. The methodology for conversion from foreign currency to Indian rupees is to be seen – whether it is before remittance, after remittance or at the terminal.
“This interoperable platform will transform the bill payment experience for Indians living abroad and will be highly beneficial for the family members of NRIs, especially senior citizens staying in India,” Muralidharan Srinivasan, head of payments for APMEA region at fintech firm FIS, said.
The new feature will be an additional enabler to widen the scope of access of the payment systems and will affect forex inflows or fee income for banks and financial institutions, Anil Gupta, vice president at ICRA, said.