The Reserve Bank on Thursday permitted small value offline transactions through cards and mobile devices for single payments of up to Rs 200 on pilot basis.
The scheme is aimed at encouraging customers to opt for digital payments even in those places where the internet connectivity is poor.
An announcement to this effect was made by RBI Governor Shaktikanta Das.
Under the pilot scheme, payment system operators (PSO) banks and non-banks may offer digital payments offline (payments that do not require internet connectivity to take effect), said a notification in this regard.
“The Reserve Bank has been encouraging entities to develop offline payment solutions. It is, therefore, proposed to allow a pilot scheme for small value payments in offline mode with built-in features for safeguarding interest of users, liability protection, etc,” the governor said.
The RBI said absence of, or erratic, internet connectivity, especially in remote areas, is a major impediment for adoption of digital payments. Availability of options to make offline payments, using cards, wallets or mobile devices, could boost the adoption of digital payments, it said.
As per the pilot scheme, payments can be made using cards, wallets, or mobile devices or through any other channel without any Additional Factor of Authentication (AFA), a RBI notification said.
The upper limit of a payment transaction shall be Rs 200, although the total limit for offline transactions on an instrument will be Rs 2,000, at any point of time, the RBI said, adding that “resetting of the limit shall be allowed in online mode with AFA”.
The pilot scheme should be undertaken till March 31, 2021 only, the notification said, and added the RBI would decide on formalising such a system based on the experience gained under the pilot.
“The PSO shall send real-time transaction alerts to users as soon as transaction details are received,” it said.
Online Dispute Resolution
Meanwhile, the RBI also said Payment System Operators (PSOs) will have to implement Online Dispute Resolution (ODR) as there is a concomitant increase in the number of disputes and grievances as digital transactions rise significantly.
The statement further said recourse to technology-driven redressal mechanisms that are rule-based, transparent, and involve minimum (or no) manual intervention is necessary to deal with disputes and grievances in a timely and effective manner.
“Accordingly, the Reserve Bank shall require PSOs to introduce ODR systems in a phased manner. To begin with, authorised PSOs shall be required to implement ODR systems for failed transactions in their respective payment systems,” it said.
Based on the experience gained, ODR arrangements will be extended to other types of disputes and grievances, it added.
As per a notification issued by the RBI on ODR, customers should be provided with one or more channels web-based or paper-based complaint form, IVR, mobile application, call centre, and SMS, through branches or offices for lodging disputes and grievances.