RBI releases framework for offline digital payments
- Reserve Bank of India (RBI) released a framework for small value offline transactions in digital mode.
- Offline payments can be made using any channel or means such as cards, wallets or mobile devices, but they will be done in close proximity, or only in face-to-face mode, the framework prescribed.
Small value offline transactions
- An offline payment refers to a transaction that does not require internet or telecom connectivity to be effective.
- Authorized Payment System Operators (PSOs) and Payment System Participants (PSPs) — banks, as well as non-banks — who wish to offer payments in offline mode, will have to comply with the requirements under the framework.
- Offline transactions are expected to boost digital transactions in areas with poor or weak internet or telecom connectivity, especially in semi-urban and rural areas, said RBI.
- A pilot trial was conducted to introduce offline payments by some institutions from September 2020 to July 2021.
- In October last year, the RBI announced that a framework would be introduced to make small value digital payments in offline mode across the country.
Limit for offline payment transactions
- The upper limit for offline payment transactions will be Rs 200.
- The total limit for offline transactions on any payment instrument will be Rs 2,000 at any point in time.
- The framework states that the replenishment of the used limit will be allowed only in online mode with AFA.
- The bank or non-bank issuer will send transaction alerts to the users as soon as the transaction details are received.
- While there is no obligation to send alerts for each transaction, the details of each transaction will be adequately communicated.
- RBI also stated that the acquirer shall bear all liabilities arising out of technical or transaction security issues on the part of the Merchant.
- Customers will have to take recourse to the Integrated Ombudsman Scheme of RBI, as applicable, for grievance redressal.
- The framework will come into force with immediate effect.