Trends

The Rise Of Bharat BillPay, Sets Sights on P2P and Government Payments

Bharat BillPay, backed by the National Payments Corporation of India (NPCI), is making strategic moves beyond its core bill payments domain. With the Reserve Bank of India's recent approval, Bharat Billpay is stepping into person-to-person (P2P) transactions and government payments. This expansion opens new avenues for the platform, reflecting its adaptability and determination to become a mode-agnostic collections platform.

Bharat BillPay, backed by the National Payments Corporation of India, is poised to venture into person-to-person (P2P) transactions and government payments, marking a significant expansion beyond its core bill payments domain.

Following the Reserve Bank of India’s announcement in December of the preceding year, granting Bharat Billpay the green light to diversify into fresh payment modes encompassing both recurring and non-recurring transactions, the recently established entity is now targeting both government-related payments and P2P transactions.

“We aim to facilitate diverse collection payments, positioning ourselves as the go-to collections platform for various scenarios. The beauty of BBPS lies in its mode-agnostic nature, accommodating transactions via credit cards, UPI, debit cards, and even cash,” stated Noopur Chaturvedi, CEO of NPCI Bharat Billpay. 

Chaturvedi, who took the helm in August 2021, brings with her experience from prominent players in the digital payments landscape like PayU and Airtel Payments Bank.

Chaturvedi further revealed, “We’re in the nascent stages of crafting tailored solutions for individual collections, such as rent and business-related collections. Our approach involves collaborative product development with ecosystem partners.”

BBPS is open to encompassing any form of mandate-driven payments within its ecosystem. Although it commenced with bill payments and credit card settlements, the long-term strategy extends to cover a spectrum of transactions including B2B payments, consumer-to-government remittances, and even P2P exchanges.

Bharat BillPay, P2P

One area experiencing remarkable year-on-year growth for BBPS is loan repayments. Chaturvedi highlighted that several digital lenders are capitalizing on BBPS’s mandate framework to initiate monthly EMI payments with user consent, resulting in seamless transactions. 

Despite an initial intention to target segments like school fees and similar periodic payments, the education sector hasn’t wholeheartedly adopted this mode.

“Fastag and loan repayments are currently among our fastest-growing categories,” Chaturvedi affirmed. “Around 40% of our transaction volumes stem from electricity bill payments, representing our largest business segment.”

BBPS collaborates with 65 to 70 direct partners, including major financial institutions and payment applications. However, Chaturvedi envisions an expanded partner ecosystem. 

Currently, becoming an operational unit within BBPS entails undergoing an RBI audit. Efforts are underway to streamline integration procedures for adding more partners, a process requiring explicit RBI approval.

Similar to UPI, PhonePe is a dominant player on the consumer front within the BBPS landscape. In July 2023, PhonePe reported 49 million transactions amounting to Rs 11,280 crore. Billdesk processed 21 million transactions worth Rs 3,581 crore.

 

During the same period, BBPS facilitated 108 million transactions totaling Rs 23,681 crore, marking growth from 85 million transactions worth Rs 16,217 crore a year prior.

Consumer-facing operating units encompass entities that onboard consumers into the BBPS ecosystem, spanning bank apps, agent apps, PhonePe, Google Pay, Paytm, and others. On the biller side, operating units engage billers like state electricity distributors, as well as companies like Tata Play and Jio Broadband.

NPCI-owned BBPS transitioned into a distinct entity in 2021, tasked with digitalizing bill payments across India. Industry experts note that bill payments represent a highly profitable domain, generating revenue from each network transaction. Ultimately, NBBL (NPCI Bharat Billpay Limited) holds potential to drive shareholder value by attracting strategic investors or opting for a public offering.

Canara Bank and Bharat BillPay Cross-Border Bill Payments

In a groundbreaking collaboration this April, Canara Bank and NPCI Bharat BillPay Ltd (NBBL) had announced an essential service for the Indian diaspora in Oman – cross-border inward bill payment solutions. 

This revolutionary partnership introduces a seamless platform for Non-Resident Indians (NRIs) residing in Oman to conveniently settle bills on behalf of their families back in India using the robust Bharat Bill Payment System (BBPS), as confirmed in an official statement.

Notably, Canara Bank takes a historic step as the first public sector bank in India to extend inbound cross-border bill payment services through the BBPS framework. The initiative bridges geographical gaps, offering Indians living in Oman a swift, secure, and user-friendly method to make payments for essential services back home.

Operated by Canara Bank, Musandam Exchange also claims its own pioneering status, becoming the inaugural exchange house in Oman to integrate with cross-border inbound bill payments. The service, already in operation in Kuwait, facilitates hassle-free payments for utilities such as electricity, water, mobile services, gas, credit card bills, and more.

For NRIs in Oman, this venture marks a monumental juncture in India’s digital payments journey. The offering caters to the long-standing needs of Indian expatriates who previously relied on conventional payment methods for managing domestic bills. This service emerges as a much-anticipated alternative, offering ease, efficiency, and empowerment.

Canara Bank’s Managing Director, K Satyanarayana Raju, expressed his enthusiasm for the initiative, asserting that this endeavor aligns with the bank’s dedication to providing innovative and customer-centric solutions. Anticipating that this facility will elevate the banking experience for NRI clientele, he envisages it as a catalyst for reinforcing stronger customer relationships.

The Last Bit, Bharat BillPay’s transformation from a bill payments solution to a comprehensive collections platform emphasizes the dynamism of India’s digital payment environment. 

Its push into P2P transactions and government payments, as the platform collaborates with industry partners to co-create tailored products, and its mode-agnostic nature promises to simplify transactions across various modes, ensuring seamless and hassle-free experiences for users. 

With its growing influence and innovation, Bharat BillPay is poised to shape the future of digital payments in India, creating value for stakeholders and contributing to the nation’s ongoing digitization journey.

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