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RBI grants brief relaxations to Paytm Payments Bank customers

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The Reserve Bank of India (RBI) made brief relaxations on Friday for customers affected by its business restrictions imposed on Paytm Payments Bank Limited (PPBL). The central bank has also released a FAQ section to address key concerns over the move.

The RBI has extended the earlier stipulated timeline from February 29, 2024, to March 15, 2024, for further deposits, credit transactions, or top-ups in customer accounts, prepaid instruments, wallets, FASTags, National Common Mobility Cards, etc. The same timeline extension has been given to banking services such as fund transfers, BBPOU, and UPI facilities.

Other elements of the original January 31 directive have remained unchanged. For instance, withdrawal or utilization of balances by customers from their accounts, including savings bank accounts, current accounts, prepaid instruments, FASTags, National Common Mobility Cards, etc., are allowed without any restrictions, up to their available balance.

The bank, however, also maintained that the nodal accounts of One97 Communications Ltd and Paytm Payments Services Ltd maintained by PPBL are to be terminated at the earliest, in any case not later than February 29, 2024.

The central bank further directed that the PPBL should ensure withdrawals upto available balance from all accounts and wallets except for those frozen or flagged by the law enforcement authorities or judicial authorities.

“Further, it is directed that the bank shall facilitate a seamless withdrawal of customer deposits that are parked with partner banks under the automatic ‘sweep-in sweep-out’ facility without causing any inconvenience to such customers,” the bank said.

Meanwhile, Paytm has moved its nodal account to Axis Bank to ensure merchant settlements without any disruption.

Earlier this week, RBI deputy governor Swaminathan J clarified that the crackdown on Paytm’s payments bank was not sudden but followed several conversations and giving the company ample time to take corrective measures.

“When constructive engagement doesn’t work or when the regulated entity does not take effective action, we go for imposing business restrictions,” Das is quoted as saying.

Paytm has said it is working with the authorities to resolve the matter. According to reports, Paytm founder Vijay Shekhar Sharma held meetings with Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman over the crisis faced by the company’s banking vertical. But it appears there has been no immediate relief for the company.

Following the RBI notification, Paytm’s shares have continued to nosedive to hit all-time low.  Though on Friday, it surged 5% to Rs 341.50 from the previous close of Rs 325.25 on the BSE.

Some of the key question- answers posted by the RBI on the business restriction on the Paytm bank are as follows:

Q: My salary is credited into my account with Paytm Payments Bank. Can I continue to receive my salary into this account?

RBI: No. After March 15, 2024, you will not be able to receive any such credits into your account with Paytm Payments Bank. It is suggested that you make alternative arrangements with another bank before March 15, 2024 to avoid inconvenience.

Q: I receive a subsidy or certain direct benefit transfers linked to my Aadhar from the Government in my account with Paytm Payments Bank. Can I continue to receive it into this account?

RBI: No. After March 15, 2024, you will not be able to receive any such credit into your account with Paytm Payments Bank. Please arrange to change your linked account to another bank before March 15, 2024 to avoid any inconvenience or disruption.

Q: I have a FASTag issued by Paytm Payments Bank. Can I continue to use it to pay toll after March 15, 2024? 

RBI: Yes. You can continue to use your FASTag to pay toll upto the available balance. However, no further funding or top ups will be allowed in the FASTags issued by Paytm Payments Bank after March 15, 2024. It is suggested that you procure a new FASTag issued by another bank before March 15, 2024 to avoid any inconvenience.

You can check out the complete FAQs here.

Update (8:450PM IST, February 16, 2024): The contents of this article has been updated with Paytm’s update about shifting nodal accounts.

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