The RBI has said that round-the-clock transactions will be allowed under the National Electronic Funds Transfer (NEFT) system from December 16 and it will be available on all days of the year, including holidays. The decision has been taken considering the rising popularity of digital payments in India.
Currently, all NEFT transactions are settled on hourly batches, and for weekdays, the batches are from 8 am to 7 pm, while the settlement happens from 8 am to 1 pm on first and third Saturdays.
In a notification, the central bank has asked member banks to ensure sending of positive confirmation message for all NEFT credits. "Member banks are expected to keep adequate liquidity in their current account with Reserve Bank of India at all times to facilitate the successful posting of NEFT batch settlements," the RBI said.
NEFT transactions after usual banking hours are expected to be automated transactions initiated using 'straight-through processing (STP)' modes by the banks. The existing discipline for crediting beneficiary's account or returning the transaction (within 2 hours of settlement of the respective batch) to the originating bank will continue, the notification added.
The RBI has also asked banks to initiate necessary action and ensure availability of all necessary infrastructural requirements at their end for providing seamless NEFT 24x7 facility to their customers. "Banks may disseminate information on the extended timings for NEFT to all their customers," the notification added.
From July 1 this year, the RBI had decided not to levy charges on NEFT and RTGS transactions. Digital payments constituted a high 96 per cent of total non-cash retail payments from October 2018 to September 2019. During the same period, the National Electronic Funds Transfer (NEFT) and Unified Payments Interface (UPI) systems handled 252 crore and 874 crore transactions with year on year growth of 20 per cent and 263 per cent, respectively.
Furthermore, the central bank also plans to permit all authorised payment systems and instruments (non-bank PPIs, cards and UPI) for linking with National Electronic Toll Collection (NETC) FASTags.
Edited by Manoj Sharma