Re­serve Bank Plans Pay­ments Om­buds­man

Au­thor­ity may come into be­ing by March; aims to take load off bank­ing ar­bi­tra­tor

The Economic Times - - Front Page - Pratik.Bhakta@ times­group.com

Bengaluru: The Re­serve Bank of In­dia is likely to es­tab­lish an om­buds­man for dig­i­tal pay­ments by March to take the load off the in­creas­ing num­ber of com­plaints cur­rently be­ing han­dled by the bank­ing om­buds­man, said two se­nior bankers with knowl­edge of the mat­ter.

Given the rapid adop­tion of dig­i­tal pay­ments across the coun­try, RBI in its An­nual Re­port for 201718 had said it was con­sid­er­ing a plan to es­tab­lish a sep­a­rate om­buds­man to han­dle con­sumer com­plaints re­lated to dig­i­tal trans­ac­tions.

The cen­tral bank is presently in the process of cre­at­ing a scheme for es­tab­lish­ing of­fices across the coun­try for the dig­i­tal pay­ments om­buds­man, ET has learnt.

“We could have these of­fices set up by early next year. The cen­tral bank is work­ing on cre­at­ing a scheme and it should func­tion very sim­i­lar to the bank­ing om­buds­man,” said one of the bankers fa­mil­iar with RBI’s plans.

As per RBI’s bank­ing om­buds­man scheme laid out in 2006, there are var­i­ous cri­te­ria on the ba­sis of which con­sumers can make com­plaints to the om­buds­man—an RBI of­fi­cial in the rank of chief gen­eral man­ager or gen­eral man­ager. The two se­nior bankers said a sim­i­lar struc­ture will be drawn up for the pay­ments om­buds­man.

RBI did not im­me­di­ately re­ply to queries on the mat­ter.

With dig­i­tal trans­ac­tions gain­ing at a rapid pace over the past year, mul­ti­ple is­sues such as failed trans­ac­tions or funds sent to the wrong ad­dress have been crop­ping up as well. This has forced RBI to sit up and take no­tice of such is­sues through an om­buds­man mech­a­nism, the bankers said.

“The cen­tral bank is also try­ing to draw up a frame­work to col­lect in­for­ma­tion on the var­i­ous types of frauds that are be­ing re­ported in the over­all pay­ments space,” said the sec­ond banker men­tioned above. “RBI’s over­all aim through this is to re­duce in­stances of fraud and en­sure that con­fi­dence in the pay­ment sys­tems goes up.”

“We saw an over­whelm­ing re­sponse to gold dur­ing Dhanteras with over 3.5 mil­lion unique users ex­plor­ing the cat­e­gory dur­ing the event. Gold pur­chase on PhonePe is fu­elled by gen­uine cus­tomer in­tent and trust as demon­strated by the size­able num­ber of gold trans­ac­tions us­ing UPI on our plat­form. This is in con­trast with other plat­forms, where Gold­back/ wal­let cash­back is lead­ing to an ar­ti­fi­cial in­crease in gold trans­ac­tions,” said Karthik Raghu­pa­thy, head of strat­egy and plan­ning at PhonePe.

Mean­while, point-of-sales de­ploy­ing com­pany World­line said trans­ac­tions through its plat­form went up 25% com­pared to last year over the last week­end. While jew­ellery saw a 52% jump, liquor stores saw card trans­ac­tions go­ing up 73%, fol­lowed by ap­pli­ance pur­chases which went up 48% and movie tick­et­ing by 55%. World­line said RuPay card trans­ac­tions, as a share of debit card trans­ac­tions, shot up to 16% against 11% last year.

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