In yet another step to boost consumption, the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) has accepted a proposal to allow banks and non-banking financial companies to issue pre-paid vouchers of up to a value of Rs50,000 that can be used to purchase goods and withdraw cash from ATMs.
The RBI will soon issue guidelines allowing banks and qualified non-banking financial institutions to issue prepaid instruments like mobile vouchers and wallets.
''The enactment of the Payment and Settlement Systems Act, 2007 has brought the payment systems involved in the issuance of prepaid payment instruments under the regulatory jurisdiction of the Reserve Bank.'' the central bank said in its annual policy statement, adding, ''The Reserve Bank had earlier placed the draft guidelines for issuance/operation of such instruments in public domain for wider dissemination and feedback.''
Taking into account the comments received from various entities within and outside the country, the RBI had proposed:
- to permit SCBs which comply with the eligibility criteria to issue all categories of prepaid payment instruments;
- permit eligible non-bank entities, including NBFCs, to issue semi-closed instruments, which can be used to purchase all types of goods and services at an identified network of establishments.
The RBI said operating guidelines in this regard would be issued separately.
The RBI guidelines would help banks and non-banking entities to issue instruments such as smart cards, magnetic strip cards, internet accounts, internet wallets, mobile accounts, mobile wallets and prepaid vouchers.
The maximum value of any prepaid payment instrument (where specific limits have not been prescribed) shall not exceed Rs 50,000, RBI said.
These vouchers can only be redeemed at identified establishments which had earlier entered into a contract with the issuer for honouring such instruments.