Accessing payment service ‘anytime, any place’

A P Hota
A P Hota, MD and CEO, National Payment Corporation of India

In the world of easy accessibility, it makes 24X7 banking a reality for common man, there are no holidays for this service, shares A P Hota, MD and CEO, National Payment Corporation of India, in an exclusive interview with Poulami Chakraborty, Senior Correspondent at Elets News Network (ENN)

How is NPCI making real-time interoperable payments possible, what are the different services available for customers to go cash-less?’

National Payments Corporation of India (NPCI) is building platforms to facilitate banks offering to their customers which are technologically advanced, secure, easy-to-use payment services.  Our Immediate Payment Service (IMPS) platform is a part of this design to support 24×7 real time money transfer service. This service facilitates instant payment from a ‘Payer’ to the ‘Payee’, both for personal remittances and for merchant payments. This 24×7 real time money transfer service supplements the 24×7 ATM networking services that is connected with almost all the ATMs in the country. RuPay domestic card payment network, National Automated Clearing House (NACH) and Aadhaar Payments Bridge (APB) are other services apart from nation-wide Cheque Truncation System (CTS). All these services, working in tandem are aimed at building non-cash payment system in the country.

RuPay is perceived as a ‘Make in India’ initiative by the government, how fast is RuPay catching up to match global players?

The credit for envisaging a domestic card payment network goes to Reserve Bank of India (RBI) and Indian Banks’ Association (IBA). The idea of a domestic card payment network was floated in RBI Vision document of Payment System 2005-2008 and subsequently, the IBA had set up a Task Force to examine the feasibility of its implementation. After NPCI was operational in 2010, the task was given to NPCI.  The domestic card scheme got launched in 2012 and in about 4 years’ time there are now 222 Million RuPay cards accounting for 1/3rd debit card base in the country. The scheme got a boost with adoption of RuPay as the default card for the Government’s Prime Minister Jan Dhan Yojana. Over a period of time, RuPay has been perceived as a project in alignment with the ‘Make in India’ initiative. Considering that within such a short period, more than 550 banks have been empowered to offer card payment services to their customers, it has made a big difference to the payment systems in the country.

How is RuPay catering to the premium customers? What are the initiatives in the offering?

There are two variants of RuPay, namely, RuPay Classic Debit Card and RuPay Platinum Debit Card. Major banks are now issuing Platinum variant to their premium customers that comes with attractive recurring and activation offers. Complimentary Airport Lounge access across all the major airports in the country, cash back on utility bills, zero fuel surcharge, concierge facilities among others. Moreover, RuPay Platinum Debit Card holders are entitled to Personal Accidental Insurance cover of Rs 2 Lakh. Going forward, we are planning to launch more variants to cater the elite need of the niche category.


What are the future plans, in terms of RuPay International Card and RuPay Credit Card?

RuPay has a global alliance with Discover Financial Services (DFS). DFS have already started the acceptance of RuPay cards on ATM and POS in 185 countries. RuPay Global card with Discover, Diners & Pulse Network logos is accepted at over 35 million POS locations and over 1.66 million ATM locations. We are further strengthening our network capabilities by creating global network alliances with key players like JCB International Co. Ltd., Japan & Union Pay International Co. Ltd. of China. RuPay Credit card is expected to be launched in June 2016.

How is IMPS and *99# services different from other fund transferring products?

IMPS is empowering customers to transfer money instantly across banks and RBI authorised Prepaid Payment Instruments (PPIs). This multi-channel remittance platform is an emphatic tool to transfer money instantly through mobile, internet banking, ATMs and bank branches. The underlying concept behind IMPS has been to provide customers “any time, any place” real-time remittance access to meet their various payment needs. Since it makes 24 X 7 banking a reality for common man, there are no holidays for this service. A *99# service has been launched to take the banking services to every common man across the country. Customers having basic mobile phone can avail banking services by dialling *99#. Inter-bank account-to-account fund transfer, balance enquiry, mini-statement besides host of other services. It can be performed without requirement of data connectivity.

What are the developments towards Unified Payment Interface (UPI) and Bharat Bill Payment System (BBPS) projects?

Unified Payment Interface (UPI) is in the under development and testing stage. It is designed on IMPS platform to perform ‘Immediate Collect’ transactions seamlessly. It is a secure platform which will enable customers to initiate payment using an identifier i.e. virtual address assigned by bank. It is slated to launch in April 2016. NPCI has been entrusted by RBI to operate Bharat Bill Payment System (BBPS) as Central Unit (BBPCU). BBPS will provide common-interoperable payment platform addressing the requirement of common man’s bill payment in cash, card, online or through ECS/NACH. Banks and other entities interested in offering bill payment services have applied for becoming Operating Unit (BBPOU) with RBI. This operating units will onboard billers viz., Electricity, Gas, Telephone- utility companies to make them part of BBPS. NPCI as BBPCU will add interoperability amongst BBPOUs and their tied up billers. BBPS is expected to be operational by June 2016. Both Unified Payment Interface and Bharat Bill Payments System have been designed to deliver convenience to the consumers.

How is NPCI contributing to curb frauds?

NPCI payment processing platforms are highly robust and resilient with adequate firewalls and Fraud Risk Management (FRM) tools. The platforms have been certified for Payment Card Industry Data Security Standard (PCIDSS) and data security has been ensured. The FRM solution provide risk score of each and every transaction and is sent to the banks to determine at their end as to whether each transaction should be processed or not based on the degree of the risk score.  A good number of reports are also made available to banks as preventive monitoring tools.

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