Mumbai: The Reserve Bank Tuesday released operational guidelines to facilitate payments among prepaid instruments (PPI) such as mobile wallets, a move aimed at promoting money transfer between e-wallets and digital transactions.
The guidelines elaborate on requirements for achieving inter-operability for mobile wallets, cards and norms for customer protection and grievance redressal.
According to the guidelines, inter-operability between mobile wallets and between bank accounts and e-wallets would be enabled through the Unified Payments Interface (UPI) system.
"The inter-operability shall be facilitated to all KYC-compliant PPI accounts and entire acceptance infrastructure," the RBI said in a notification.
In case where PPIs are issued in the form of cards, the cards shall be affiliated to the authorised card networks.
"PPI issuers operating exclusively in specific segments like Meal, Gift and MTS may also implement interoperability," the RBI said.
The inter-operability would be achieved in a phased manner -- inter-operability of PPIs issued in the form of wallets through UPI, between wallets and bank accounts through UPI, and interoperability for PPIs issued in the form of cards through card networks.
The guidelines mandate that PPI issuers shall have a board-approved policy for achieving PPI inter-operability.
Inter-operability is the technical compatibility that enables a payment system to be used in conjunction with other payment systems.
It would allow PPI issuers, system providers and system participants in different systems to undertake, clear and settle payment transactions across systems without participating in multiple systems.
"All PPI issuers intending to implement interoperability through UPI and / or card networks shall adhere to the instructions contained in these guidelines. PPI issuers operating exclusively in specific segments like Meal, Gift and MTS may also implement interoperability," said the RBI.
It further said card networks are allowed to onboard PPI issuers to join their network. Non-bank PPI issuers are permitted to participate as members/associate members of authorised card networks.
MobiKwik, Oxigen, Paytm, ItzCash, and Ola Money are some of the popular mobile wallets in the country.
Currently, a mobile wallet does not allow customers to send or receive money from a wallet run by another company.
Welcoming the RBI's guidelines, Navin Surya, Chairman, Fintech Convergence Council said this is very progressive move for non-bank players and huge foundations to reach under-banked and unbanked with equally powerful payment product in league of debit/credit cards.
"Also now UPI would be accessible to large masses even those who are not banked or are under-banked," he said.
Paytm COO Kiran Vasireddy said, It is a great step for the payments ecosystem in India. With these set of guidelines, the PPI ecosystem will become more stronger.