In dig­i­tal push, RBI nixes NEFT fee for SB a/c cus­tomers from Jan

The Hindu Business Line - - FRONT PAGE -

There’s good news for cus­tomers in the New Year. As part of its agenda for fur­ther­ing dig­i­tal pay­ments, the Re­serve Bank of In­dia has man­dated banks not to charge sav­ings bank ac­count cus­tomers for on­line trans­ac­tions done via the Na­tional Elec­tronic Fund Trans­fer (NEFT) sys­tem.

This will come into ef­fect from Jan­uary 2020.

The RBI, in its sec­ond bi­monthly pol­icy, this June, had an­nounced that it has de­cided to do away with charges levied on trans­ac­tions pro­cessed in the RTGS and NEFT sys­tems in or­der to pro­vide an im­pe­tus to dig­i­tal funds move­ment.

It had not given a time­line at the time but had said banks would be re­quired to pass on these ben­e­fits to their cus­tomers.

In a press re­lease on Fri­day on deep­en­ing dig­i­tal pay­ments, the RBI said it also plans to op­er­a­tionalise the Ac­cep­tance De­vel­op­ment Fund to in­crease ac­cep­tance in­fra­struc­ture with ef­fect from Jan­uary 1, 2020.

Need for QR codes

It will con­sti­tute a com­mit­tee to as­sess the need for plu­ral­ity of QR codes, and mer­its of their co­ex­is­tence or con­ver­gence from both sys­temic and con­sumer view­points.

The RBI said it will also per­mit all au­tho­rised pay­ment sys­tems and in­stru­ments (non-bank PPIs, cards and UPI) for link­ing with Na­tional Elec­tronic Toll Col­lec­tion (NETC) FASTags. “Go­ing for­ward, this will fa­cil­i­tate the use of FASTags for park­ing, fuel, etc., pay­ments in an in­ter­op­er­a­ble en­vi­ron­ment,” it said.

It will also en­able pro­cess­ing of e-man­dates for trans­ac­tions through UPI.

“In pur­suance of its vi­sion to pro­mote dig­i­tal pay­ments, the Re­serve Bank’s en­deav­our has been to es­tab­lish state-of-the-art pay­ment sys­tems that are ef­fi­cient, con­ve­nient, safe, se­cure and af­ford­able,” it said, adding that the steps have been planned to fur­ther em­power ev­ery ci­ti­zen with an ‘Ex­cep­tional (e) Pay­ment Ex­pe­ri­ence’, and pro­vide in­di­vid­u­als ac­cess to a bou­quet of op­tions.

Ris­ing trans­ac­tions

Dig­i­tal pay­ments con­sti­tuted a high 96 per cent of to­tal non­cash re­tail pay­ments be­tween Oc­to­ber 2018 and Septem­ber 2019. Dur­ing this, the NEFT and Uni­fied Pay­ments In­ter­face (UPI) sys­tems han­dled 252 crore and 874 crore trans­ac­tions with yearon-year growth of 20 per cent and 263 per cent, re­spec­tively, the RBI noted.

This rapid growth in the pay­ment sys­tems has been fa­cil­i­tated by a se­ries of mea­sures taken by the cen­tral bank, it added.

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