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RBI to release guidelines for inter-wallet transactions by July

After National Payments Corporation of India (NPCI) clearing safety aspects of digital wallets to bring them onto an interoperable platform, the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) is now all set to come up with operational guidelines for them.

This will make inter-wallet transactions possible for users, who will be able to transfer money between wallets. The RBI is in the final stage of releasing operational rules, it is expected to be out within a month, ET report quoted a banker as saying.

Already a couple of wallet firms, as third-party service providers, have moved on to the interoperable system of UPI. Payment wallets such as Paytm, MobiKwik, FreeCharge are part of the UPI bandwagon.

The central bank is also said to be waiting to get all other players ready for shift. As part of this process, prepaid cards are also expected to be made interoperable.

According to a Reserve Bank of India (RBI) data, the transactions through UPI reached almost half the value of debit and credit cards swiped at stores for Feb. Since its inception, the unified payment platform has been witnessing a massive month-on-month growth.

At present, the modes of digital payments operation in the country include UPI, Aadhaar-enabled payment system (AEPS), digital wallets, IMPS and POS terminals.

Over the past couple of years, acceptance of digital payment modes has risen considerably. The mobile wallet interoperability guidelines are expected to enable several smaller players.

Earlier in October last year, the RBI had issued the Reserve Bank of India (Issuance and Operation of Prepaid Payment Instruments) Directions, 2017 (Master Direction), making KYC compliance mandatory for prepaid payments instruments (PPI) such as wallets by February 28, 2018.

Interoperability would be introduced in phases, after the adoption of common standard by wallets, starting with all full-KYC wallets, the RBI had said.

Meanwhile, wallet players also of the views that inter-wallet transactions will not only benefit consumers but also expand the adoption of wallets in the country.

According to Google and Boston Consulting Group (BCG) report, the digital payments sector of India are to reach $500 Bn by 2020.

However, last year govt had fallen short of target by 18%, having clocked 20.3 billion transactions. Initially, the target was 25 billion transactions. Now, the govt targets 30 billion digital payments in FY 2018-19.

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