In a move aimed to promote digital transactions, the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) issued guidelines on Tuesday to enable payments among prepaid instruments (PPI) such as mobile wallets. The RBI also stated that interoperability will be facilitated to KYC-compliant PPI accounts. The guidelines look into ways to achieve interoperability for mobile wallets and cards as well as into customer protection and grievance redressal.
Interoperability among mobile wallets, bank account and e-wallet will be enabled through Unified Payments Interface (UPI), it said. In its notification, RBI said, "The inter-operability shall be facilitated to all KYC-compliant PPI accounts and entire acceptance infrastructure." For PPIs issued in the form of cards, the cards will be affiliated to the authorised card networks. "PPI issuers operating exclusively in specific segments like Meal, Gift and MTS may also implement interoperability," the RBI said.
The interoperability will be undertaken in three phases. In the beginning, there will be interoperability of PPIs issued in the form of wallets through UPI, followed by interoperability between wallets and bank accounts through UPI and finally interoperability for PPIs issued in the form of cards through card networks.
The guidelines also state that PPI issuers must have a board-approved policy for achieving interoperability. Interoperability is the technical compatibility that enables a payment system to be used in conjunction with other payment systems. MobiKwik, Oxigen, Paytm, ItzCash, and Ola Money are some of the popular mobile wallets in the country.
Currently, a mobile wallet does not allow customers to send or receive money from a wallet run by another company.
Welcoming the RBI's guidelines, Navin Surya, Chairman, Fintech Convergence Council said this is very progressive move for non-bank players and huge foundations to reach under-banked and unbanked with equally powerful payment product in league of debit/credit cards. "Also now UPI would be accessible to large masses even those who are not banked or are under-banked," he said. Paytm COO Kiran Vasireddy said that it is a great step for the payments ecosystem in India. With these set of guidelines, the PPI ecosystem will become stronger.