With a view to make digital transactions more affordable, the Reserve Bank of India will soon come out with a discussion paper on the reasonableness of charges on transactions through digital mode.
Observing that concerted efforts by all stakeholders have led to a significant increase in digital payments in recent years, RBI Governor Shaktikanta Das said there have, however, been some concerns on the reasonableness of various charges incurred by customers for digital payments through credit cards, debit cards, prepaid payment instruments (cards and wallets), Unified Payments Interface (UPI) and the like.
Entities involved in providing digital payment services incur costs, which are generally recovered from the merchant or customer or is borne by one or more of the participants, he said while unveiling the bi-monthly monetary policy. While there are advantages and disadvantages of customers bearing these charges, they should be reasonable and should not become a deterrent in the adoption of digital payments, he added.
To take a comprehensive view of the issues involved, he said it is proposed to issue a discussion paper, which will cover all aspects related to charges involved in various channels of digital payments. "The paper will also seek feedback on issues related to a convenience fee, surcharging, etc., and the measures required to make digital transactions affordable to users and economically remunerative to the providers.The paper will be released in a month's time," he said. The Reserve Bank has been making efforts to facilitate greater participation of retail customers in financial markets -- investment in the G-secs segment through the recent launch of Retail Direct Scheme, where UPI, in addition to other options such as internet banking, can be used to make payments for participating in the primary and secondary markets.
Over time, UPI has also become a popular payment option for Initial Public Offerings (IPOs) since its availability from January 1, 2019, he said, adding it is reported that IPO applications of Rs 2 to Rs 5 lakh constitute approximately 10 per cent of subscription applications. The transaction limit in the UPI system was enhanced from Rs 1 lakh to Rs 2 lakh in March 2020. To further encourage the use of UPI by retail investors, he said it is proposed to enhance the transaction limit for payments through UPI for Retail Direct Scheme and IPO applications from Rs 2 lakh to Rs 5 lakh.
Separate instructions to NPCI will be issued shortly, Das added. Observing that UPI is the single largest retail payment system in the country in terms of volume of transactions (14 crore transactions per day, October 2021), he said one of the initial objectives of UPI was to replace cash for low-value transactions. Transaction data analysis shows that 50 per cent of transactions through UPI were below Rs 200, indicating its success, he said, adding these low-value transactions, however, utilise significant system capacity and resources, at times leading to customer inconvenience due to transaction failures because of issues related to connectivity.
It is, therefore, proposed to offer a simpler process flow by enabling small value transactions through an 'On-device' wallet in UPI app, which will conserve banks' system resources, without any change in the transaction experience for the user, he said.