What is the news?
The Reserve Bank of India has released the guidelines for exchange and use the information of the users to Prepaid Payment Instruments (PPIs) such as wallets and cards that will effectively allow users of the wallets such as Paytm, Freecharge, Mobikwik, Google Pay, Phonepe to transfer money from one wallet to another. Among other things, the rules will allow mobile wallets to issue cards in partnership with card networks like Mastercard, Visa and Rupay.
In 2017, the RBI had said that such interoperability, which allows transfer of funds seamlessly between mobile wallets, would be permitted but operational guidelines were awaited. The rules have now been released, giving a boost to mobile wallet companies, while also reducing the advantage that payments banks enjoyed.
What did the circular say?
In its guidelines, the RBI said that interoperability will be enabled through both the card networks and the Unified Payment Interface (UPI).
- Where PPIs are issued in the form of wallets, interoperability across PPIs shall be enabled through UPI.
- Where PPIs are issued in the form of cards, the cards shall be affiliated to the authorized card networks.
- The interoperability shall be facilitated to all KYC-compliant PPI accounts and entire acceptance infrastructure.
What did the officials say?
PPI issuers shall adhere to all the requirements of card networks/UPI, including membership type and criteria, merchant on-boarding, adherence to various standards, rules and regulations applicable to the specific payment system such as technical requirements, certifications and audit requirements, governance, etc.
What did the experts say?
Bipin Preet Singh, CEO of Mobikwik said “The guidelines will give a boost to mobile wallets. The mobile wallet firms can now issue cards directly by collaborating with card networks like Mastercard, Visa and Rupay. Until now, this could only be done through a tie-up with a bank. In the online segment, mobile wallets can directly issue payment addresses using the UPI network. This will benefit mobile wallet firms, specially those who have invested in building a network.”
“This is a very progressive move for non-bank players. This will allow mobile wallets to take their payment services to the unbanked and put them in the league of debit and credit cards. Also now UPI would be accessible to large masses even those who are not banked or are under-banked,” said Navin Surya, Chairman Emeritus of the Payments Council of India.