RBI’s Bharat Bill Payment System to cover all recurring bill payments

18 Sep 2019


Reserve Bank of India (RBI) on Monday announced plans to expand the scope and coverage of Bharat Bill Payment System (BBPS) to include all categories of billers who raise recurring bills (except prepaid recharges) as eligible participants, on a voluntary basis.

BBPS, as an interoperable platform for repetitive bill payments, currently covers bills of five segments, viz, direct to home (DTH), electricity, gas, telecom and water.
RBI in its Statement on Developmental and Regulatory Policies had set out various developmental and regulatory policy measures in the areas of financial markets, payment and settlement systems, banking regulation, financial inclusion and credit flow to NBFCs.
As part of the measures to rev up financial markets, RBI said it would introduce stripping/reconstitution facility for state development loans (SDLs).
As a debt manager to the states, RBI said, it has been making efforts to develop the SDL market in both primary and secondary segments. The extension of the scheme of non-competitive bidding and aggregators/facilitators to SDLs are some of the efforts taken by RBI in this direction. RBI said the stripping/reconstitution facility for SDLs will be implemented in consultation with the respective state governments.
Currently, the National Electronic Funds Transfer (NEFT) payment system operated by the Reserve Bank as a retail payment system is available for customers from 8.00 am to 7.00 pm on all working days of the week (except second and fourth Saturdays of the month). As mentioned in the Payment System Vision 2021 document, the Reserve Bank will make available the NEFT system on a 24x7 basis from December 2019. This is expected to revolutionise the retail payments system of the country, RBI stated.
The Bharat Bill Payment System (BBPS), an interoperable platform for repetitive bill payments, currently covers five segments viz., direct-to-home (DTH), electricity, gas, telecom and water bills. 
“In order to leverage the advantages of the BBPS and harness its full potential, it has been decided to permit all categories of billers (except prepaid recharges) who provide for recurring bill payments to participate in BBPS on a voluntary basis. Apart from digitisation of cash-based bill payments, these segments would also benefit from the standardised bill payment experience for customers, centralised customer grievance redressal mechanism, prescribed customer convenience fee and the like,” RBI stated, adding that it would issue detailed instructions in this regard by the end of September 2019.
In order to minimise concentration risk in retail payment systems from a financial stability perspective, public and private entities, institutions and industry associations had suggested the need to encourage more players to participate in and promote pan-India payment platforms. 
RBI has now decided to offer ‘on tap’ authorisation to entities desirous to function/operate/provide platforms for
  • Bharat Bill Payment Operating Unit (BBPOU);
  • Trade Receivables Discounting System (TReDS); and
  • White Label ATMs (WLAs).
Instructions to this effect will be also issued by the end of September 2019.
Towards creation of a central payments fraud information registry, RBI has proposed to facilitate the creation of a Central Payment Fraud Registry that will track these frauds. Payment system participants will be provided access to this registry for near-real time fraud monitoring. The aggregated fraud data will be published to educate customers on emerging risks. RBI said a detailed framework in this regard will be put in place by the end of October 2019.
At present, there is a mechanism in place for banks to report all banking frauds to the Central Fraud Monitoring Cell of the Reserve Bank. With the digital payment ecosystem making substantial progress in terms of growth of payment infrastructure as well as volume and value of digital payment transactions, fraud risk monitoring and management by the stakeholders have assumed importance. 

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