Reserve Bank of India Governor, Shaktikanta Das, on Friday announced a new scheme on retail digital payments solutions in the offline mode.
“A scheme to test technologies that enable digital payments even in remote places where internet connectivity is either absent or barely available was announced in August 2020. Given the encouraging experience gained from the pilot tests, it is proposed to introduce a framework for retail digital payments in offline mode across the country. This will further expand the reach of digital payments and open up new opportunities for individuals and businesses.,” he said.
In August last year, the Reserve Bank on Thursday permitted small value offline transactions through cards and mobile devices for single payments of up to Rs 200 on pilot basis.
“Three pilots were successfully conducted under the Scheme in different parts of the country during the period from September 2020 to June 2021 involving small-value transactions covering a volume of 2.41 lakh for value Rs 1.16 crore. The learnings indicate that there is a scope to introduce such solutions, especially in remote areas. Given the experience gained from the pilots and the encouraging feedback, it is proposed to introduce a framework for carrying out retail digital payments in offline mode across the country. Detailed guidelines will be issued in due course,” the RBI said in its statement on Friday.
Under the pilot scheme, payment system operators (PSO) banks and non-banks may offer digital payments offline (payments that do not require internet connectivity to take effect).
“The Reserve Bank has been encouraging entities to develop offline payment solutions. It is, therefore, proposed to allow a pilot scheme for small value payments in offline mode with built-in features for safeguarding interest of users, liability protection, etc,” the Governor said last year.
The RBI said absence of, or erratic, internet connectivity, especially in remote areas, is a major impediment for adoption of digital payments.
Availability of options to make offline payments, using cards, wallets or mobile devices could boost the adoption of digital payments, it said.
The upper limit of a payment transaction was then set at Rs 200.
The pilot scheme was undertaken till March 31, 2021.
“Over the years, the Reserve Bank has prioritised security measures for digital payments such as the requirement of Additional Factor of Authentication and online alerts for every transaction. These measures have significantly increased customer confidence and safety leading to increased adoption of digital payments. The Reserve Bank has been encouraging entities to develop offline payment solutions,” said the RBI in a statement on 6 August.
Reserve Bank Governor Shaktikanta Das-led Monetary Policy Committee (MPC) on Friday announced its policy decision at the end of the 3-day bi-monthly review meeting. The monetary policy committee maintained status quo on the repo and the reverse repo rate in order to support growth and tackle inflation.
At its last bi-monthly MPC review meeting held in August, the Reserve Bank maintained status quo on key interest rates for the seventh consecutive time and retained the GDP growth target at 9.5 per cent. It kept the repo rate unchanged at 4 per cent and reverse repo rate untouched at 3.35 per cent.
The RBI on Friday also enhanced the upper limit for Immediate Payment Service (IMPS). From now on, bank customers can transfer Rs 5 lakh via IMPS. Earlier the limit for IMPS transfer was restricted at Rs 2 lakh.