Thursday, 7 February 2019

RBI to regulate payment gateway providers: Digital payments likely to get safer

RBI to regulate payment gateway providers: Digital payments likely to get saferIn another move to make digital payments safer, Reserve Bank of India (RBI) proposes to regulate payment gateway service providers and payment aggregators. This would mean that payment gateways such as Paytm, Mobikwik, Bharat Bill Pay and so on would have to adhere to RBI guidelines just as many other financial entities have to do. Consequently, these gateways can be expected to become more transparent and accountable in their working thereby benefiting common people using them for making digital payments. 

As per RBI in its press release dated March 30, 2017 regarding advisory on e-walletshas said that intermediaries, like aggregators and payment gateways, which facilitate payment services, though not authorised by Reserve Bank under the Act, are however required to route their transactions only through a nodal account opened with a bank under Reserve Bank's guidelines of November 24, 2009.

The 2009 guidelines issued in this regard asked for the maintenance of nodal accounts of intermediaries like payment gateway providers and payment aggregators. As per the 2009 guidelines, all accounts opened and maintained by banks facilitating collection of payments by intermediaries from customers of merchants, shall be treated as internal accounts of the banks. While it is left to the banks to decide on the exact nomenclature of such accounts it shall be ensured that such accounts are not maintained or operated by the intermediaries.

Banks shall ensure that the process of converting all the existing accounts maintained and operated by intermediaries for the purpose covered in these directions shall be completed within three months of issuance of these directions, as per the guidelines.

Earlier, the apex bank in its "Payment and Settlement Systems - Vision 2018" has mentioned about it. As per the document, "The increasing growth of electronic payments, especially online payments, riding the growth of e-commerce and m-commerce transactions, has brought to the fore the increasing role and importance of entities that facilitate such online payments such as payment gateway providers and payment aggregators. The current guidelines on maintenance of nodal accounts for such intermediaries (monitored through banks) are indirect and address only a few specific aspects of their functioning. Given their increasing role, the guidelines will be revised for the payments related activities of these entities."

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