Sunday, February 26, 2017

PM Pitches for Digital India, Asks Citizens to Teach BHIM App to 125 Others

PM Pitches for Digital India, Asks Citizens to Teach BHIM App to 125 Others

Declaring digital payments will help fight corruption and proliferation of black money, Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Sunday said each citizen should teach 125 persons how to use the Bharat Interface for Money(BHIM) digital payment app.
"Remembering Babasaheb Ambedkar, you teach at least 125 persons about downloading the BHIM app," Modi said in his monthly 'Mann Ki Baat' radio broadcast.
To encourage digital payments after the November demonetisation of high-value currency notes, the government has recently launched the Bharat Interface for Money (BHIM) mobile app.
IT Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad said earlier this month that the BHIM app had already crossed 140 lakh registrations.
"Lucky Grahak Yojana will complete 100 days on April 14, the birth anniversary of Babasaheb Ambedkar," the Prime Minister said.
Following the ban on Rs 1,000 and Rs 500 currency notes, the government launched the Lucky Grahak Yojna (LGY) for consumers and Digi-Dhan Vyapar Yojana (DVY) for merchants to incentivise them and promote digital payments. The schemes will remain open until April 14.
There are 15,000 daily winners qualifying for total prize money of Rs 1.5 crore, as per the schemes. In addition to this, there are over 14,000 weekly winners qualifying for total prize money of over Rs 8.3 crore every week.
Customers and merchants who use RuPay Card, BHIM/UPI, USSD based *99# service and Aadhaar Enabled Payment Service are eligible for wining daily and weekly lucky draw prizes.
The government has given away over Rs 153.5 crore reward money to nearly 10 lakh citizens under these schemes, NITI Aayog CEO Amitabh Kant said earlier this week.
"It is a delight to learn that till now, under the Digi-Dhan Yojana, 10 lakh people have been rewarded, over 50,000 traders have won prizes and an amount of almost over a 150 crore rupees has been earned as prize money by people who have promoted and carried forward this great campaign," Modi said.

Mastercard, Visa And Rupay Come Together To Launch BharatQR For Digital Payments


Come Monday, Indians will have yet another way to pay.
This time, it’s a QR (quick response) code-based payment solution that will allow merchants to accept digital payments from those who hold a debit card even if they don’t have a card swiping terminal. The product, called BharatQR, has been jointly developed by Mastercard Inc., Visa Inc. and Rupay. It will be formally launched on Monday in Mumbai.
It becomes the second major digital payment option being promoted by the government after the Unified Payments Interface (UPI) based BHIM app. Both are being pitched as an alternative to cash following the November 8 demonetisation decision. While currency availability has now started to normalise, the government is trying to encourage digital payments by making them more convenient and cost effective.

How QR Code-Based Payments Work

A QR code-based payment system works on the existing network of card companies like Mastercard, Visa and Rupay. This means that anyone holding a debit card from any of these providers can pay using a QR code, provided they have downloaded an app from their bank which supports this payment option.
If a customer has the app and wants to make a payment at a merchant who doesn’t have a card swiping machines, he can simply scan the merchant’s QR code and transfer the money directly from the bank account.
Private payment firms like Paytm already offer this facility, but both parties need to have a Paytm account to use it.
BharatQR attempts to overcome this limitation by allowing people to pay without having to choose one payment network over another. This will, however, need a large number of bank apps to support such payments.
QR-based payments have an added advantage of being infrastructure-light. This means that a merchant doesn’t require a lot of equipment to accept digital payments, which reduces costs.
Such a payment system has the potential for take off as it falls under the digital point-of-sale solution segment, for which the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) recently proposed lower merchant discount rates in its draft circular.
Moreover, penetration of card payment infrastructure in India is abysmally low. As of October 2015, there were only 12 lakh point of sale terminals in the country and there are only 6.7 card transactions per capita, much lower than Russia’s 47 and Brazil’s 55, according to a March 11 report by the National Payments Corporation of India and JM Financial Ltd.

A Crowded Payment Ecosystem

The launch of BharatQR will add to an already crowded market for digital payments. There are at least a dozen non-cash payment mediums out there including UPI, mobile wallets, net banking, debit cards and soon-t- be-launched Aadhaar Pay, among others. Individual firms like Paytm also have their own QR- and non-QR-based payment products.
Not all such products have worked.
For instance, Mastercard had launched a QR-code pased payment system in November 2016 called Masterpass. This product, however, remained limited in its reach as it was launched with a tie-up with only RBL Bank. Mastercard will now work with the government to develop BharatQR, which is a wider cross-platform product, Murali Nair, senior vice-president for market development-South Asia at Mastercard, told BloombergQuint in a response to an email on January 23.
Visa declined to comment on the story.

Saturday, February 18, 2017

RBI mulls giving banks freedom to fix bank service charges for transactions



In an attempt to promote cashless transactions in the country, Reserve Bank of India (RBI) has given banks the freedom to fix bank service charges for transactions, stated Santosh Kumar Gangwar, Minister of State in the Ministry of Finance, in Lok Sabha on Friday. 

RBI has deregulated interest rates on credit card dues. Interest rates are determined by banks with the approval of their respective Board of Directors subject to regulatory guidelines on the interest rate on advances issued by RBI from time to time. RBI does not maintain information on the rate of commission charged. 

National Bank for Agriculture and Rural Development (NABARD) has approved a scheme for giving 0.5 percent incentive on payments made through the Aadhaar Enabled Payment System (AEPS) to merchants. 

With regards to debit card transactions on PoS devices, between January 1 and March 31, 2017, Merchant Discount Rate (MDR) has been capped at 0.25 percent for transaction up to Rs. 1,000, and for debit card transactions value between Rs. 1,000 and Rs. 2,000, MDR has been capped at 0.5 percent. 

RBI has decided that till March 3, 2017, banks and prepaid payment instrument issuers shall not levy any charges on customers for transactions up to Rs. 1,000 settled on Immediate Payment Service (IMPS), Unstructured Supplementary Service Data (USSD) and Unified Payments Interface (UPI). 

Further, Government has issued a direction in public interest to all public sector banks not to charge fees for transactions settled on IMPS and UPI in excess of rates charged for National Electronic Funds Transfer (NEFT) for transactions above Rs. 1,000, with service tax being charged at actual; for USSD transactions till March 3, 2017, above Rs. 1,000, a further 50paise discount is provided. 

NPCI has waived switching fees for RuPay Card transactions (both for PoS and e-commerce), IMPS, UPI, National Unified USSD Platform (NUUP) and AEPS, with effect from January 1 to March 31, 2017. 

Credit card, debit card, charge card and other payment card services by banks have been exempted from payment of service tax for transactions of up to Rs. 2,000. The government has introduced Lucky Grahak Yojana for customers and Digi Dhan Yojana for merchants to promote means of cashless transactions. 

In terms of Office of Controller General of Accounts Office Memorandum dated December 14, 2016, the applicable Merchant Discount Rate (MDR) charges on debit cards for payment up to Rs. 1, 00,000 shall be absorbed by the Government. 

In terms of Department of Public Enterprises letter dated December 9, 2016, all Central Public Sector Enterprises (CPSEs) are required to ensure that transaction fees, MDR charges associated with payment through digital means shall not be passed on to the consumers and all such expenses shall be borne by CPSEs. 

RBI has also cautioned the users, holders and traders of Virtual Currencies (VCs), including Bitcoins about the potential financial, operational, legal customer protection and security related risks that they are exposing themselves to. The creation, trading or usage of VCs including Bitcoins, as a medium for payment have not been authorised by the Reserve Bank of India. 


Rs 27,000 crore saved under Direct Benefit Transfer scheme since November 9

Union Minister, RuPay, Haryana, Haryana Education Minister, DBT

Since digital transactions took off rapidly from November 9, 2016, Rs 27,000 crore has so far been saved under the Direct Benefit Transfer scheme, this was informed at an event held at Panchkula today.
Also, about 35 per cent people have taken to debit card, RuPay card and e-wallet services for making payments in Haryana.
This was disclosed in the presence of the Union Minister of State for Social Justice and Empowerment, Krishan Pal Gujjar, and the Haryana Education Minister, Ram Bilas Sharma, at the inaugural function of the ‘Digi Dhan Mela’ and ‘Basant Utsav’, at Panchkula, near here, today, a Haryana government statement said here.
Speaking on the occasion, Gujjar said that 100 Digi Dhan Melas were being organised in the country to encourage people to adopt cashless transaction system for making payments.
So far, 56 such melas have been held. This is the third such mela in Haryana after Gurugram and Sonipat.
Gujjar urged the people to make digital transactions to realise the dream of Prime Minister Narendra Modi, and also encourage others to adopt this system.
The main aim of Digi Dhan Mela is to give people message of ‘Mera Mobile-Mera Bank-Mera Batua’, he added.
Speaking on the occasion, Ram Bilas Sharma thanked Arjuna awardee Sanjay Phogat, international shooter, Gauri Sheoran, and Kings XI Punjab (IPL) player, Manan Vohra, and others for attending the mela and expressed hope that such events would inspire people to adopt digital payment methods.
Vice-Chairman, National Payments Corporation of India, Pushpendra Singh, and Deputy Director, NITI Aayog, Sukhdeep Kaur, gave detailed information about various digital schemes.