Reserve Bank Plans Payments Ombudsman
Authority may come into being by March; aims to take load off banking arbitrator
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.