The Union Cabinet on Wednesday approved an incentive scheme to reimburse the person-to-merchant component of the merchant discount rate incurred from transactions made using RuPay Debit cards and transactions up to Rs 2,000 made via UPI. The total financial outlay of the scheme for one year is estimated at Rs 1,300 crore.
The merchant discount rate refers to a mandatory charge which merchants are required to pay for processing debit and credit card transactions.
Union Minister Ashwini Vaishnav stated the scheme would facilitate building robust digital payment ecosystems and promoting RuPay Debit cards and BHIM-UPI digital transactions would further enhance the digital payments infrastructure in the country.
Further, the scheme is aimed at making accessible digital modes of payment to unbanked and marginalised populations unable to enter the formal banking and financial system, the ministry's press statement read.
The Cabinet informed that the scheme was formulated in compliance with the Budget announcements aimed at giving a further push to digital transactions in the country.
Union Minister Ashwini Vaishnav informed that the country incurred a record 423 crore digital transactions with a total value of Rs 7.56 lakh crore.
On December 8, apex banking regulator Reserve Bank of India Governor Shaktikanta Das had proposed to launch UPI-based payment products for feature phone users. The apex bank chief said that the innovation would leverage products from the RBI's Regulatory Sandbox on Retail Payments.
Additionally, the RBI chief proposed to enable a mechanism of 'on-device' wallet in UPI applications. This, he stated, would make the process flow for small-value transactions simpler.
He also proposed to raise the transaction limit for payments through UPI for the apex banker's Retail Direct Scheme for investment in G-Secs from the current Rs 2 lakh to Rs 5 lakh.
Das had highlighted concerns related to the reasonableness of various charges incurred by customers for digital payments via credit cards, debit cards, prepaid payment instruments, UPI, among others. "It is proposed to release a discussion paper on various charges in the payment system to have a holistic view of the issues involved and possible approaches to mitigating the concerns so as to make digital transactions more affordable," the Governor mentioned.