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RBI Monetary Policy: BBPS To Process Inbound Bill Payments From NRIs, To Benefit Senior Citizens

RBI monetary policy announces major relief for senior citizens by enabling bill payments from overseas through Bharat Bill Payment System (BBPS).

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RBI Governor Photo: PTI/Shashank Parade

During its monetary policy meeting on Friday, Reserve Bank of India Governor Shaktikanta Das said the Bharat Bill Payment System (BBPS) will process cross-border ‘inbound’ bill payments. This move is expected to benefit senior citizens dependent on children or family living overseas.

The RBI Governor particularly stressed on the word ‘inbound’ in the press conference after announcing a policy repo rate hike by 0.5 per cent to 5.4 per cent.

RBI noted that currently BBPS is accessible only for ‘residents in India’ and to facilitate Non-Resident Indians (NRIs) “undertake utility, education and other bill payments on behalf of their families in India, it is proposed to enable BBPS to accept cross-border inward payments.” 

The RBI hopes that this development will also benefit payment of bills of any biller onboarded on the BBPS platform in an interoperable manner.
All the necessary instructions regarding the operation of this new development will be issued by RBI in due course of time. 

Sony A, GM and CIO, South Indian Bank, said that currently bill payments through BBPS are enabled through digital/physical agents in India. This is possible for Indian NRI customers who have bank accounts in India. "However, banks had requested RBI permission to allow entities outside India also to be permitted as agents for BBPS."

"With this announcements, entities such as Exchange Houses could onboard through a bank in India which is a BBPOU. This will help expand the digital utility bill payment volumes on the one hand, while increasing cross border remittance on the other. This move will also be very useful for NRI customers who can make bill payments in their own country using the front end channels provided by permitted billing agents. It is expected that this will be rolled out by NPCI and banks within a month,” added Sony A.

Pranay Jhaveri, MD, India & South Asia, Euronet Worldwide, a payments company, said, "This is a step to empower and enable the large Indian diaspora to support their families especially senior citizens by taking away the burden of mundane and recurring bill payments. It is a step in the right direction to continue growing BBPS with a new use case as it may get additional foreign exchange into the country. We will have to await specific directions in terms of implementation and compliance.”

What Is BBPS?

BBPS is an interoperable platform for standardised bill payment experience and has a centralised customer grievance redress mechanism. It also has a uniform customer convenience fee and other features.

RBI noted in its MPC meet that so far over 20,000 billers have been onboarded on the system and more than 8 crore transactions are processed by BBPS on a monthly basis.

The BBPS pilot testing phase was launched by RBI on August 31, 2016, and the live operations started about a year later on October 17, 2017.

Balaji Jagannathan, co-founder and director, Paycorp.io, a payments company, said, "Digitisation of payments at the national level and international level means that payments can be made and received from literally any part of the world to any part of the world. By supporting cross-border inward remittance under BBPS, NPCI takes another significant step toward making payments convenient for consumers."

Benefits Of BBPS

The Bharat BillPay has various payment options and is particularly suitable for bill payments since it gives consumer satisfaction of instant confirmation of payment via short messaging service (SMS) or receipt. Consumers can use BBPS to pay their electricity, telecom, direct to home (D2H), gas, water, insurance premium, school fees, mutual fund purchase, credit card bill payment, fastag recharge, local taxes, and other payments.

Consumers can use BBPS to settle their payments and pay for them using multiple transaction payment channels like the Internet, net banking, mobile banking, mobile wallet, automatic teller machine systems (ATMs), bank branches, agents, and others.

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