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Extending purview: RBI to regulate offline payment aggregators, too

Pinelabs, MSwipe, Ezetap, FSS, Hitachi payments, Worldline, etc. are some offline payment aggregators

payments | RBI | Payment

Subrata Panda 

Photo: Bloomberg
Photo: Bloomberg

After getting online aggregators under its purview, the (RBI) is now planning to extend the regulations to offline aggregators as well.

RBI’s current regulations are applicable to aggregators processing online or and do not cover offline (proximity/face-to-face) transactions.

“Keeping in view the similar nature of activities undertaken by online and offline payment aggregators, it is proposed to apply the current regulations to offline aggregators as well,” the said. “This measure is expected to bring in synergy in regulation covering activities and operations of aggregators apart from convergence on standards of data collection and storage,” it added.

The brought the online payment aggregators under its purview in 2020, taking into account the key functions these intermediaries provide in the online space as also keeping in view their role vis-à-vis handling funds.

Payment aggregators are entities that facilitate e-commerce sites and merchants to accept various payment instruments from the customers for completion of their payment obligations without the need for merchants to create a separate payment integration system of their own.

In March 2020, the issued guidelines that said only approved firms could acquire and offer payment services to merchants. The central bank had specified the criteria the entities have to fulfil to secure such a licence and a number of firms have seen their applications being rejected while many have also got the nod from the RBI.

“Now the RBI is essentially saying any payment system operator who handles merchants' money will have to apply for an offline payment aggregator licence… those providing just point-of-sale terminals but are not involved in doing payouts through their nodal accounts need not apply”, said an industry insider.

Pinelabs, MSwipe, Ezetap, FSS, payments, Worldline, etc. are some offline payment aggregators.

Vishwas Patel, chairman, Council of India, and ED, Infibeam Avenues, welcomed the move, saying this would ensure that the Indian consumers are protected, secured and all are regulated through single, standard rule.

“Hence, almost all ecosystem players in all sectors or space, wherever there is a money transaction involved (for payments) and which were till date out of the RBI’s ambit, are being proactively brought under a single regulation,” said Patel.

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First Published: Fri, September 30 2022. 19:32 IST