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RBI brings payments aggregators, gateways under its ambit; issues fresh guidelines


After a year-long discussion with the stakeholders, the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) has finally brought payment aggregators and gateways under its direct regulatory ambit.

This essentially means payment gateways such as Paytm, Mobikwik, Bharat Bill and aggregators like BillDesk, PayU India, CCAvenue, Razorpay will be directly regulated by the RBI to bring more transparency, accountability and security for consumers.

The banking regulator has also introduced new guidelines for all non-bank payment aggregators to apply for fresh licences.

According to the RBI, the criteria of authorisation is based on the role of the intermediary in the handling of funds. Banks, which provide payments aggregation services as part of their regular banking relationship, do not require a separate authorisation from RBI. 

But non-bank payments aggregators will require authorisation from RBI under the Payment and Settlement Systems Act, 2007. Existing non-bank entities offering payment aggregation services will have to apply for authorisation on or before June 30, 2021. 

As far as capital requirement is concerned, an existing payment aggregator will have to achieve a net-worth of Rs 15 crore by March 31, 2021, and a net-worth of Rs 25 crore by the end of the third financial year, on or before March 31, 2023. 

After the third financial year, these payment aggregators will have to maintain the net-worth mark of Rs 25 crore.

For new entities, they will need to have a minimum net-worth of Rs 15 crore at the time of application for authorisation and will have to attain a net-worth of Rs 25 crore by the end of the third financial year, the RBI directives said.

Industry experts have welcomed the decision by RBI as the net worth requirements has been reduced from Rs 100 crore (proposed by the banking regulator during the discussion in September 2019). Moreover, it has given ample time to comply with the requirements for existing players.

Separately, RBI has outlined that e-commerce marketplaces providing payment aggregation services shall not continue this activity beyond the deadline mentioned above. If they do so, they shall be separated from the marketplace business, and will have to apply for authorisation before the same timeline.

In the guideline, RBI has also made it necessary for payments aggregators and gateways to appoint a nodal officer responsible for regulatory and customer grievance handling functions.

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