As part of further improving, speeding up and fool-proofing the payments and settlement systems, the Reserve Bank on Friday said all the 18,000-odd branches which are outside the centralised clearing system called cheque truncation system will come under it by September. The cheque truncation system (CTS) is in use since 2010 and covers around 1,50,000 bank branches across three cheque processing grids. All the erstwhile 1,219 non-CTS clearing houses have since been migrated to the CTS now.
Since around 18,000 more branches are still outside any formal clearing arrangement, to bring in operational efficiency in paper-based clearing and make the process of collection and settlement of cheques faster resulting in better customer service, it is proposed to bring all such branches under CTS by September, RBI said in a statement.
Separate operational guidelines will be issued within a month, it added. The central bank also said it will set up a 24x7 helpline for digital payments services to secure them more against fraud and phishing.
The RBI's payment systems vision document envisages setting up a 24x7 helpline for addressing customer queries in respect of various digital payments, which, apart from building trust and confidence, will also reduce expenditure on both financial and human resources. Under this scheme, major payments system operators will be required to have in place a centralised industry-wide 24x7 helpline to address customer queries in respect of various digital payments and give information on available grievance redressal mechanisms by September. That apart, the RBI said, it will soon issue outsourcing guidelines for operators and participants of authorised payment systems.
Various authorised payment systems activities are outsourced to optimise efficiency and lower costs. But this also increases system vulnerabilities posing cybersecurity risks. To manage the attendant risks in outsourcing and ensure that a code of conduct is adhered to while outsourcing payments and settlement-related services, the Reserve Bank will issue guidelines to the operators and participants of authorised payment systems shortly. Towards better consumer protection measures, the RBI said it will integrate the three ombudsman scheme- the banking ombudsman scheme; the ombudsman scheme for NBFCs; and the ombudsman scheme for digital transactions in operation from 22 ombudsman offices of the RBI.
Accordingly, it has already operationalised complaint management system portal as one-stop solution for alternate dispute resolution of customer complaints. To make the alternate dispute redress mechanism simpler and more responsive to customers, it has been decided to integrate the three ombudsman schemes and adopt a 'one nation one ombudsman' approach. The integrated ombudsman scheme will be rolled out in June.