Policy Update: Bharat Bill Payment System – Expansion of biller categories

The Reserve Bank of India (RBI) has expanded the scope of Bharat Bill Payment System (BBPS) by permitting all categories of billers (except prepaid recharges) who provide for repetitive bill payments on a voluntary basis. BBPS, an interoperable platform for recurring bill payments, currently covers five segments viz., direct-to-home (DTH); electricity; gas; telecom; and water bills. With the new move, repetitive bill payments such as school fees, insurance premiums and municipal taxes may also get included within the ambit of BBPS.

“As announced in para 3 of the Statement on Developmental and Regulatory Policies released with the Third Bimonthly Monetary Policy Statement 2019-20 of August 07, 2019, it has been decided to expand the scope and coverage of BBPS to include all categories of billers who raise recurring bills (except prepaid recharges) as eligible participants, on a voluntary basis,” said RBI in a notification dated September 16, 2019 issued to banks, including Urban Co-operative Banks , State Co-operative Banks, Payment Banks, Small Finance Banks , Bharat Bill Payment System Providers  and prospective Bharat Bill Payment Operating Units.

On 7 August, RBI announced a slew of policy measures aimed at accelerating the adoption of digital payments in the country. These included, revision of National Electronic Funds Transfer (NEFT) timings to make it a 24×7 facility, expanding the scope of utility bill payments and encouraging more entities to enter the retail payments space.

Apart from digitisation of cash-based bill payments, these segments would also benefit from the standardised bill payment experience for customers, centralised customer grievance redressal mechanism, prescribed customer convenience fee and the like. Detailed instructions in this regard will be issued by the end of September 2019, said RBI in Statement on Developmental and Regulatory Policies post the monetary policy review in August. However, the latest notification in this regard does not entail any such detailed instructions.

Payments through BBPS may be made using cash, transfer cheques and electronic modes. Bill aggregators and banks, which function as operating units, carry out these transactions for the customers.

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