Showing posts with label npci rupay. Show all posts
Showing posts with label npci rupay. Show all posts

Monday, May 29, 2017

NPCI to roll out RuPay credit cards soon, says chief A P Hota

National Payments Corporation of India (NPCI), the nodal agency for digital payment systems in the country, will soon launch its RuPay credit cards for which it has roped in a few banks, a top official said. “Our credit cards will be launched soon. These would be RuPay credit cards. A pilot is going on with five banks. In the pilot, about 7,200 transactions have taken place,” NPCI MD & CEO A P Hota said. Punjab National Bank, Central Bank of India, IDBI Bank, Andhra Bank and Union Bank are working under the pilot project.
“Three more banks will come under credit card product. We will launch the RuPay credit cards soon,” Hota said in an interview to PTI. Besides, the agency will also roll-out an inter-operable tap-and-go card for transit fare payments in buses and metro trains.
“We will start these inter-operable tap-and-go cards for transit payment for metro and bus ride. We are starting this tap-and-go card with Bangalore first. From June, the service will be expanded to Kochi and Ahmadabad,” Hota said.
Speaking about digital payment expansion in the country, he said NPCI has now about 2.30 lakh bank ATMs and 3 crore point of sales (POS) terminals under its fold that will help it reach to a maximum people through non-cash mode.
He said installation of micro ATMs by banks through their business correspondents and Aadhaar pay platform will help acceptance of digital payments in rural areas.
“Last year, for all the banks together on the NPCI platform, 9 billion transactions had happened. As per our rough estimate, it was close to one billion till April this year…I believe by 2017-18, it would not be a challenge to meet the 25 billion target as was set in budget,” he added. Hota also said that about 10-12 more banks will join the NPCI infrastructure soon. Currently, there are 44 banks who are already under it.

Saturday, March 18, 2017

How RuPay Card Become the Best Credit/Debit Card of India

RuPay is India’s home grown card scheme, brought to reality by the National Payment Corporation of India.  Founded on March 26, 2012 it competes with the likes of Visa and MasterCard. Currently RuPay has a market share of around 35%, making it the second largest card scheme in terms of numbers (Visa has over 50% of the cards in the market). In this post I will be discussing about RuPay cards.

RuPay
The name has come from two words Rupee and Payment. The three colors orange, green and blue with a white background speaks for itself (Colors of the Indian National Flag).
Coined from two words Rupee and Payment
RuPay Logo
Orange and green in the logo shows that the nation is moving towards growth supported by a fast paced service to the growing nation. Blue indicates trust, peace and security which the people get as a feeling when they own this card.

NPCI
National Payments Corporation of India was formed in December 2008 and promoted by
  • State Bank of India (SBI)
  • Punjab National Bank (PNB)
  • Canara Bank
  • Bank of Baroda (BoB)
  • Bank of India (BoI)
  • Union Bank of India (UBI)
  • Investment Credit and Industrial Corporation of India (ICICI Bank)
  • Housing Development Bank of India (HDFC Bank)
  • Citi Bank
  • Hongkong Shanghai Banking Corporation (HSBC Bank)
It provides services like NFS (National Financial Switch), the Immediate Payment Service (IMPS), National Automated Clearing House (NACH), Aadhaar Payment Bridge System (APBS), RuPay, etc.…
National Payment Corporation of India
The Vision, Mission and Values of NPCI

What motivated NPCI to start RuPay Cards?
As RuPay cards is completing three years in the Indian Market, it is necessary to know what made National Payments Corporation of India to start RuPay cards.
  • Near Duopoly by Visa and MasterCard: – The two giants have dominated the electronic payment market in India. Over 95% of the transactions in India were done over these gateways.

Visa and MasterCard issued in India
Visa and MasterCards issued in India

  • Non-Issuance of ATM cards by small and co-operative banks: – As Visa and MasterCard charge exorbitant fees from the banks as joining fees, most banks did not find it viable to invest a huge sum to provide ATM services.
  • Charge from the customers: – Some retail outlets, charge around 2% per transaction from their customers as outlet owners find it difficult to make their business viable by paying huge transaction fees.
  • Motivated by China’s Union Pay and Japan’s JCB: – These are two payment gateways run by their respective governments, have helped them achieve their goals with their sincere efforts. China’s Union Pay is the world’s second largest payment scheme in terms of transaction value.
  • To serve the RBI’s vision to provide a domestic, open loop and multilateral system in electronic payments to all banks and financial institutions in India.

Benefits of RuPay Cards
  • Low transaction costs: Transaction through RuPay is 90 paisa per transaction irrespective of the value of the transaction. This fee is charged collectively from the merchant’s bank account and card issuer’s bank. Visa and MasterCard charge around 2% per transaction.
  • No Joining fees: Unlike Visa and MasterCard, RuPay doesn’t charge a single penny for joining the RuPay Payment Scheme.
  • Quicker transactions: As the transactions are done locally, the settlement process is faster than its rivals.
  • Data: Customer information is not let out to other countries as the data is secured in India locally.
  • EMV: This stands for Euro Pay, MasterCard and Visa which have set up standards to provide high class secured chip based cards. RuPay has partnered with Discover Financial Services (DFS) to provide EMV based RuPay cards. These cards demand a pin for completing the transaction at every Point-Of-Sale (POS).

Partners
  • A partnership was struck between Discover Financial Services (DFS) and National Payments Corporation of India (NPCI) such that Discover and Diners Club cards are accepted in all NFS ATMs in India and RuPay Global cards would be accepted for international purchases and cash transaction at Discover, Diners Club and PULSE network across all POS terminals worldwide. (They have over 25 million merchants worldwide in almost all nations in the world).
  • NPCI has partnered with Acculynk to provide secure encryption and authenticated consumer PIN for all its customers for e-Commerce purchases under the brand RuPay PaySecure.
  • Indian Railway Catering and Tourism Corporation (IRCTC) has partnered with Union Bank of India (UBI) and NPCI to book tickets and other services using RuPay prepaid cards which have a top-up limit of Rs. 50,000.

RuPay Prepaid Cards
IRCTC has partnered with UBI to launch RuPay Prepaid Cards

  • Japan Credit Bureau International (JCBI) and NPCI have entered into an alliance in which JCB cards would be accepted at all POS terminals and NFS ATMs in India in return for which the NPCI member banks can issue RuPay/JCB cards which would be accepted at all POS terminals in the JCB network worldwide.
  • China’s Union Pay and NPCI have struck a deal such that CUP cards will be used at all RuPay POS terminals in India.
  • Partnership of NPCI with Oxigen group to launch OxiCash Money Transfer which makes Oxigen Wallet India’s First Non-banked Mobile Wallet to provide Instant Money Transfer Service without hassles.

Pradhan Mantri Jan-Dhan Yojana and RuPay
Shri Narendra Damordas Modi, on his first Independence Day speech declared scheme for bringing about financial inclusion in India by bringing the un-banked population in the banking ecosystem. Features what an account holder would receive
  • Zero balance Account.
  • Free RuPay Debit Card.
  • Rs 1, 00,000 life cover and Rs 30,000 accidental cover by Life Insurance Corporation of India (LIC).
  • Overdraft facility of Rs 5000 for each account.
RuPay Payment Scheme benefitted the most from this scheme. The adoption of RuPay cards increased drastically in India making it the second largest Payment Card in India with around 35% market share. Over 25% of the transaction in India is done using RuPay cards across ATMs, POS terminals and e-Commerce Platforms.

IMG_0505
Outdoor Advertisement of RuPay Platinum Cards for foreign business travelers on Airport Road, Bangalore

Achievements
Ø The duo-poly in India is now a story of the old. Now there are three significant players in the payment card market, namely Visa, MasterCard and RuPay in India.
Ø It has 18 prepaid instruments on board who issue RuPay prepaid cards.
Ø RuPay cards are issued by 27 Public Sector Banks, 13 Private Banks and over 250 Co-operative & Gramin Banks. RuPay was a boon to the co-operative banks and its customers due to minimal cost in issuing RuPay cards.
Ø It has won many laurels for itself like “Renaissance Skoch Award” for building country’s own and the fastest adopted card system in the world.
Ø It has broken all records by building a payment gateway in less time, whereas it usually takes around five years to make a fully functional payment system.
Ø It has partnered with Kochi Metro to provide RuPay card services at all its station in the metro network.
Ø RuPay debit cards were issued by the Punjab Government to all commission agents for quicker payments through the ‘Kisan Arthia Information and Remittance Online Network’.
Ø RuPay prepaid cards were issued to AMUL farmers under the brand ‘Kotak Samriddhi’ for direct transfer for their daily produce.

Friday, August 7, 2015

NPCI ties up with JCBI to issue RuPay card in India




Japan’s JCB International and National Payments Council of India (NPCI) have entered into a strategic partnership for JCB Acceptance and Card Issuing in India.

NPCI provides RuPay, a domestic card payment network countering Visa and MasterCard.
The agreement, which will initially enable the JCBI cardholders to transit in all ATMs and credit card swipe machines in India, will eventually enable the Indian issuers to come out with cards that can be accepted globally without going through the visa or MasterCard network.

In the first stage of the agreement between the JCBI and NPCI, over 10 lakh card-accepting terminals and 2,00,000 ATMs across India will be made available to the JCBI cardholders.

Around 165 million RuPay domestic cards have been issued by 426 banks in India.

“The visitors from Japan are many and the economic relationship is emerging and growing. Since we have built the massive infrastructure with the cooperation of the banks, the network must be of privilege. We would like to support the member banks so that their infrastructure will be utilized to the maximum,” said A.P. Hota, Managing Director and CEO, NPCI.

India is a growing economy and JCB considers it to become one of the world’s leading consumer markets.

The debit and credit cardholders in the country are also growing steadily.

“We believe our extensive card acceptance network and customer oriented services across the world will be a strong feature of RuPay/JCB international cards. We would love to by-implant important product in promoting RuPay cards throughout the world and contribute to the NPCI member banks by providing unique and expensive values of JCB Brand,” said Kimihisa Imada, Deputy President, JCB International Co.

Japan is also finding new partners in the manufacturing sector.

Yamaha showcased the newly developed linear conveyor module for manufacturing line at a recently held Manufacturing World Japan expo.

Comparing to conventional conveyor, the linear conveyor can freely manipulate a slider on which the products are moved. It achieves more advanced convey.

“This is already used in factories across Asia, including in Thailand and China. It is suitable for large-scale production like manufacturing mobile phones,” said Nagashima Ryuzo, Sales Office Manager, Yamaha Motor Co. Ltd.

Suga Systems Inc. showcased a 3D printer called “LOGSITE”, a suitable product for business or educational purpose. The printer is equipped with special heater for quicker production.

“I have been involved in making 3D printers from the beginning of this industry. With that knowledge, we especially want to put focus on educational industry like introducing this machine to schools and raise the level of Japanese manufacturing industry,” said Tokuzo Suga, a representative of Suga Systems Inc.

The Japanese companies are fast expanding their base by joining hands with local companies throughout Asia. It not only helps the Japanese firms to grow, but also helps them in introducing advanced technology to their partner firms in the Asian subcontinent.

Monday, December 29, 2014

RuPay debit cards could be the Jan Dhan Yojana’s undoing


The lack of formal banking and cash is one of the toughest constraints in the rural areas of India. The Jan Dhan Yojana might be the best strategy to overcome this. But this ambitious scheme has one critical flaw that could ruin it and result in its failure to deliver on promises: the RuPay debit card. To ensure the success of the yojana, it is essential that the RuPay debit card plan be shelved, because it poses a huge reputation risk — the failure of the card could have damaging consequences for the scheme as a whole.

For families which have been offered bank accounts under the scheme, the advantages of a cash-based economy are just a step away. Except in the case of the lowest deciles, poor families do have some assets but, in the absence of a ready market for them, they are forced to make distress sales for even routine transactions. Having cash in the bank and, more importantly, a way to easily deposit and withdraw money, will be a force-changer for these families once the banking habit spreads.

The weakness in the system comes from the introduction of the debit card. It introduces the risk of a third party meddling with the savings bank deposits of crores of first-time account users. Earlier government programmes have become non-starters for similar reasons. But before going into this in detail, just imagine the landscape the debit card would create for new bank account holders. Recollect the tense times we went through when we first got cards — debit or credit. Recollect those tentative moments eons ago, when we operated an ATM machine for the first time.

In lakhs of villages across India, instead of offering frugal banking, we are trying to replicate these experiences. The debit card has to be preserved, kept reasonably dust free and intact for its magnetic strip to operate. Though the account won’t be frozen if the card is not used, the accident insurance cover gets cancelled if it is inactive for 45 days.

But this isn’t the chief obstacle. Repeated observations of auditors and independent studies about previous government schemes throw up two concerns. First, there is always one stage or point at which the beneficiary has to approach the district administration or the bank to get into the scheme. This is the point at which money could leak out of the scheme. The second concern is complication. The RBI list of frequently asked questions on the Jan Dhan Yojana, sent to all banks, acknowledges this — the “branch manager will have to advise all the related risks to the illiterate account-holder at the time of issuance of RuPay card”. The RuPay debit card is in line to be the leakage point from the scheme. It has the weakness of being complex and requiring a third party to administer.

The results could be devastating. Remember, for instance, in the Integrated Rural Development Programme, the loan scheme had two components: a subsidy provided by the government and a loan given by the bank. People may recall the standing instructions issued by bank headquarters to hand over the subsidy to the district or zila parishad representative but not to disburse the loan. The recipient got some money, the officials took a cut, and there was no pressure to repay a loan.

The Jan Dhan overdraft could meet the same fate, of being parcelled out, with the account holder getting the smallest share. To reduce the hassle and risk of keeping the card with themselves, a sizeable percentage of people, typically the weakest, might give it to someone else for safekeeping — a village leader or the bank manager. This is a real risk. The account holder knows if she does not put more money in the bank, she is safe from further loss, so, she will keep her account dry. Yet the safekeepers could purloin the account holder’s share of government subsidy.

The RuPay debit card’s problem is that it is a physical object and, like any government property, lends itself to widespread misuse. A far better option would have been a frugal banking plan based solely on a single-number platform like Aadhaar, with biometric identification, or a telecom number-based identification platform like M-Pesa for the Jan Dhan account holders to remember and use. Every benefit could have been credited to this account.

The debit card adds nothing to the experience of operating a bank account for the new entrant but has all the elements necessary to wreck it.

Monday, September 22, 2014

One can open Jan Dhan A/c by just submitting 2 photos: Finance Minister

Finance Ministry today said people who do not have officially valid documents or Aadhaar numbers can open Jan Dhan bank accounts by submitting two copies of signed photographs at a bank branch.

"RBI has issued guidelines dated August 26, 2014, where people who do not have officially valid documents or Aadhaar numbers can still get bank accounts opened by submitting two copies of signed photographs at the bank branch," an official statement said.

However, it said these accounts will be called small accounts and shall normally be valid for 12 months and shall be continued subject to showing of proof that he/she has applied for any of the officially valid document within 12 months of opening of such 'Small Account'.

These accounts have certain limitations such as balance at any point of time should not exceed Rs 50,000, total credit in one year should not exceed Rs 1 lakh, and total withdrawal should not exceed Rs 10,000 in a month, it said.

It also said the existing account holder need not open another bank account to avail of benefits under Pradhan Mantri Jan Dhan Yojana (PMJDY).

As on date 4.18 crore accounts have been opened under PMJDY.
"In fact insurance benefits are available through the RuPay Card. The existing account holders can submit an application to the concerned branch to enable them to get a RuPay Debit Card in order to avail of the benefits of insurance under PMJDY," it said.

Micro credit limit of Rs 5,000 can also be extended in existing bank accounts on application depending on the satisfactory conduct of the account, it said.
The statement said that there had been complaints from some places about the availability of the account opening forms due to huge rush and certain people taking advantage of such situation.

In view of this, an advertisement has been issued in all major newspapers where the account opening form has been published, it said.

Anybody desirous of opening an account can come and take this application form to the nearest bank branch/bank mitr for opening the account, it said.

This one page account opening form is also available on the website of the Department www.financialservices.gov.in, it added.

Friday, August 8, 2014

Will PM Narendra Modi's financial inclusion plan use Aadhaar for authentication?

In less than two weeks, PM Narendra Modi is expected to announce a new Financial Inclusion drive.
However, even as the anointed day - the 15th of August - draws near, key aspects of this drive are still unclear.

 

The programme, called Sampoorn Vittiyea Samaveshan (SVS), seeks to add 20 crore new bank accounts. These will be linked to Aadhaar. They will probably provide an overdraft facility. And they will be used for cash transfers.

Go deeper into the details, however, and you encounter a set of unresolved questions. Prime among them, the role of Aadhaar.

While researching this story, ET reviewed two drafts produced by the Department of Financial Services - one in June, and the second in July. The draft dated 8 July, 2014, says: "This account would be linked with the Aadhaar number of the account holder and would become the single point for receipt of Direct Benefit Transfers (DBT) from Government/Local Bodies."

According to a source close to the UIDAI, who spoke to ET on the condition of anonymity, this phrasing suggests that while Aadhaar numbers might be seeded into bank accounts, it might not be used for authentication.

In other words, once the cash flows into the Aadhaar-linked bank account, last-mile authentication when the money is being withdrawn will be done using the authentication systems of either the relevant bank or the last-mile service provider - like a Banking Correspondent (BC) company.
Not using Aadhaar for last mile authentication has significant fallouts for the UIDAI. Which, among other things, has the Aadhaar-enabled Payment System as one of its key components, and sees authentication services as one of its principal functions and revenue streams.

Till now, the UIDAI has argued that Aadhaar-based authentication is needed to show that the DBT (Direct Benefit Transfer) has indeed reached the targeted beneficiary.

However, from the field, this claim has been marred by persistent reports that online biometric authentication is not working for manual labourers and the old. Agrees Sanjay Kuberkar, The founder of Adrenaline Financial Inclusion Advisors, "The biometrics do not always work."

Another reason the UIDAI wants Aadhaar-enabled authentication is because that will further inter-operatability. A person can use her biometrics to access her account through any BC, any bank.
Says the source close to the UIDAI, "If banks or last-mile providers use their own proprietary (biometric) authentication technologies, then there will be no inter-operatability." In other words, a person with an account in United Bank may not be able to use a BC working with State Bank of India to access his account.

This is where the debate gets complex. Aadhaar has defined standards for Micro ATMs and Biometric Capture. Banks and BCs adhering to those standards, with BCs who have plugged into the bank's core banking servers, can send authentication queries all the way to the UIDAI's central ID repository. In this design, a beneficiary can access her account through any service provider if they are Aadhaar-compliant.

But, banks too have been creating their own biometric databases. And the question is whether authentication requests where one bank sends one biometric authentication query to another bank can be as interoperable as the Aadhaar ones.

Under former DFS Secretary DK Mittal, the department ran such pilots in Haryana. These too were online biometric authentications but the biometrics were stored with the banks. But those, says the UIDAI source, failed.

However, another way to ensure interoperatability is to use PIN numbers instead of biometrics. It is here that a proposal in the SVS documents is interesting. It proposes that all account holders be provided with a RuPay card. Says Kuberkar, "The card works at any ATM, and does not require biometric authentication."

Counters the UIDAI source, "Biometrics are safer than PIN numbers.

In contrast, PIN numbers can be used also by those who have trouble with biometrics.
There is another reason why some banks want to retain authentication with them. Aadhaar was planning to start charging for authentication. A decision which has now been deferred to December.
Says Kuberkar: "Cost of Aadhaar authentication is an issue, even if the cost is kept at just 25 paise per authentication. There is at least one client bank of mine who is considering to use their own biometric authentication method instead of Aadhaar because of the cost implications."

What does this seeding/authentication debate mean for reducing leakages? According to MS Sriram, visiting faculty at IIM Bangalore's Centre for Public Policy, it is a good idea to use the Aadhaar number only for seeding. "Linking bank accounts with the Aadhaar number will help the government eliminate ghosts and duplicates from beneficiary lists."

Such a move, he says, also addresses the concerns around biometrics not working and privacy. "Using Aadhaar only for seeding also takes care of some privacy-related questions. A trail of a person's movements will not be available any longer at the central server."

About ten days ago, the Department of Financial Services (DFS) was expected to present an updated iteration of SVS to the Prime Minister. This was shortly after he reposed his faith in the UIDAI project. It is yet unclear what transpired in that meeting. The documents in the public domain pre-date that meeting. Emails to DFS officials seeking an appointment went unanswered.

However, based on conversations with UIDAI officials and Banking Correspondent (BC) companies, it seems there is little clarity on this question on how Aadhaar will be used.

MP govt to launch financial inclusion drive across state

This will ensure timely payment of wages and other compensation against various government-sponsored welfare schemes



To meet the total financial inclusion programme to be launched by Union government on August 15 this year Madhya Pradesh has geared up to launch its total financial inclusion drive in its all 51 districts. This will ensure timely payment of wages and other compensation against various government-sponsored welfare schemes. 

"The banking service area mapping has been completed in all 51 districts in Madhya Pradesh. The area of operation has been allotted for implementation of total financial inclusion (Sampoorna Vittiya Samavesh) to all banks in all districts has also been completed. Opening of accounts of Head of every household will commence from August 15 in camp mode," a senior government official said.

Every bank will prepare a monthly and quarterly calendar for holding camps in allotted areas and connectivity issue is to be informed to state level bankers committee. "The bank will have rights to shift the business correspondent, who will operate accounts, locations to the village within 5 km radius, where connectivity is available. If there is no connectivity in any of the villages, banks will have to explore to provide satellite connectivity through VSATs for those locations," the official said, adding, Ministry of Finance may be requested to reimburse the cost of the same to banks through the financial inclusion fund.

At least one account for every household in the country is mandatory, for the head of the household. Every household will have access to banking services within 5 km by September 2015 except hilly, tribal, forest and desert areas.

"The idea was floated by state government to provide banking services by bank branches within periphery of five kilometers," the official said. Under the plan Issuance of Rupay Card in accounts is to be encouraged. But the bankers will have to ensure that the card and accounts should not become dormant through motivating account holder to make card transactions.

"An overdraft limit of Rs 5,000 is to be allowed to the account after a reasonable period and after taking into consideration the saving or credit history of account holder," the official said.

Modi’s Financial Inclusion Plan - Rupay Card News

Who pays Who benefits?


One of prime minister Narendra Modi’s ambitious plans is the massive financial inclusion drive which envisages a bank account for 150 million Indians by August 2018. The idea of financial inclusion is not new—it has been the buzzword at the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) since 2005, but without much success. In fact, several thousand new bank accounts, opened under pressure from RBI, remained dormant or did not have a single transaction. Why will it be different this time? Well, Mr Modi reportedly proposes an overdraft facility of Rs5,000 for each account, besides a RuPay debit card with inbuilt accident insurance cover of Rs1 lakh. The overdraft will be backstopped by a Credit Guarantee Fund.

Had something like this been announced by the Congress government, it would have been immediately dubbed a loan mela or another subsidy scheme. But Mr Modi’s spectacular election campaign and the 12-year Gujarat development record have ensured that doubts and misgivings remain muted.

Financial inclusion and empowering the poor is a necessity. There is no doubt at all that the poor are forced to borrow at significantly higher rates, are badly exploited by moneylenders and also forced to pay more for all goods and services. When financial inclusion was attempted though micro-finance, it led to exploitation by rapacious micro financiers, insurers and others.

Will Modi sarkar succeed in getting the same government officials to deliver where others have failed? Will moneylenders not exploit the Rs5,000 overdraft facility for repayment of old borrowings? What will the Modi government do to prevent poor, unbanked, rural folk from blowing up the overdraft, as they usually do, on marriages and religious ceremonies and on liquor?

It is significant that KR Kamath, chairman of the Indian Banks Association, while talking about how bankers were working overtime on this project said, “More than being commercially viable, it is important to link every household with the banking system.” But what happens when the overdraft has been spent and there is a default in the books of our nationalised banks? It will not only be a cost to the exchequer, but all the householders, who were recently included, will be excluded from the system again. We will watch for answers, when the prime minister unveils his grand plan for financial inclusion from the Red Fort on Independence Day.

The second phase of the financial inclusion plan talks about a pension scheme for the lower income and unorganised sector and micro-insurance through the nationalised insurance companies. Premium for insurance products will come from schemes like the Rashtriya Swasthya Bima Yogana.

A catchy name, terrific tag line, nice logo and a marketing blitzkrieg is all very well, but we would much rather hear a discussion on how the Modi government has studied and fixed all the leakages and malpractices that prevented government-directed financial inclusion and insurance schemes from working.

Instead, all we are hearing from officials and bureaucrats, desperate to please a powerful prime minister, is about the spending and hiring spree (20,000 ATMs, 50,000 banking correspondents and 7,000 branches) planned to meet the ambitious targets.

Wednesday, July 23, 2014

PM Modi set to revamp financial inclusion; new scheme to be unveiled on August 15

PM Modi set to revamp financial inclusion; new scheme to be unveiled on August 15




Prime Minister Narendra Modi is set to give a big boost to the ongoing financial inclusion drive by unveiling a comprehensive programme at the Red Fort in his address to the nation on the Independence Day.

The proposed comprehensive financial inclusion programme envisaging insurance and pension cover, apart from a default cover for lenders, is likely to envisage opening 15 crore more bank accounts, 12 crore of which will be in rural areas over next four years, according to a note sent to the Indian Banks Association (IBA) by Financial Services Secretary G S Sandhu.

According to the note, Mr Modi’s new comprehensive financial inclusion programme has three major shifts from the one pursued by the previous government.

First, the earlier efforts at financial inclusion had villages as the unit for coverage while the current plan focuses on coverage of households.

Secondly, only rural areas have been the focus so far while both rural and urban areas have been included now, says the ministry note.

Thirdly, the current plan is proposed to be implemented as a ‘mission mode’ project. It envisages a comprehensive coverage of all excluded households by a six-pillar approach in two phases, according to the note.

The first phase of the programme, which begins from August 15 this year and ends on August 14, 2015, will provide basic banking accounts with overdraft facility of Rs. 5,000 and RuPay debit card with inbuilt accident insurance cover of Rs. 1 lakh and creation of credit guarantee fund for coverage of defaults in overdraft accounts, according to the ministry.

The second phase, which will begin on August 13, 2015 and conclude by August 14, 2018, will cover micro-insurance and unorganised sector pension schemes like Swavlamban.

When contacted, IBA said already state-owned banks, insurers and regulators are working overtime to ensure a smooth kick-start.

“We are currently busy chalking out the modalities of implementation of the project, which will be implemented in the entire country after it is declared by the Prime Minister on August 15,” IBA chairman K R Kamath, who is also the chairman of Punjab National Bank, told PTI.

It is a good scheme as it envisages going beyond the geographical boundaries and promises of connecting each and every household, he said, adding that more than being commercially viable, it is important to link every household with the banking system.

“Through this programme, we are looking at providing two savings bank account facility-one each for the husband and the wife-to all those households which not served by the banking system so far,” MR Kamath said.

“Of course, these basic banking accounts will come with some in-built overdraft facility and RuPay debit cards with an inbuilt accident cover of Rs. 1 lakh. We are awaiting the final announcement of the scheme by the Prime Minister.”

Inclusive pension is also one of the pillars of the proposed comprehensive financial inclusion programme.

“Pension under ‘the mission mode’ will lay emphasis on this facility for the lower income segment and the unorganized workers,” said R V Verma, acting chairman of the Pension Fund Regulatory and Development Authority (PFRDA).

“We will seek to achieve and expand the scope of the National Pension Scheme (NPS) to serve the disadvantaged sections of the population through active involvement and participation of all categories of intermediary institutions like banks, NBFCs, MFIs, NGOs, corporates and annuity service providers,” Mr Verma added.

Though micro-insurance will come in the second phase of the programme, insurers have already started working on it.

“While the already existing 4,000 micro offices of the four PSU general insurers would be strengthened, over 2 lakh existing business correspondents will be asked to sell micro insurance products to ensure the last mile connectivity,” New India Assurance chairman and managing director G Srinivasan said.

“Though micro-insurance will come in the second phase only, we have already started working on it,” he added.

The premium for the low-cost insurance products, which is to be paid by the beneficiaries or from subsidy under the Rashtriya Swasthya Bima Yojana scheme, will range between Rs. 100 and Rs. 300 per annum, New India Assurance general manager K Sanath Kumar said.

Nabard will provide the initial Rs. 1,000 crore to create a credit guarantee fund to cover possible defaults on overdraft accounts under the scheme, a Nabard official said.

Several rounds of meetings have already been held by the Department of Financial Services with all the stakeholders of the programme, including state-owned banks, insurance companies and pension regulator PFRDA.

The banking sector would be expanding itself to hire an additional 50,000 business correspondents (BCs), launch over 7,000 branches and more than 20,000 new ATMs in the first phase, Sandhu told the IBA, adding that around 50,000 BCs are likely to be appointed in rural areas for the programme alone.
 

Monday, February 17, 2014

Can Aadhaar survive without govt backing? Experts discuss

The key question is, if the next government were not actively back Aadhar, has the system created enough mass of benefits for state governments, banks, and the lay citizen to want the scheme to continue?

The unique identity or the Aadhar was one of the high profile projects of the UPA government. By roping in India's smartest technocrat, Aadhar was the UPA's way of using cutting edge technology to transfer benefits in a corruption free manner. But, after five years of backing, last week the government put on hold its program of paying cash on the basis of Aadhar identity to those entitled to subsidised LPG gas cylinders. LPG was the only instance where Aadhar was used to transfer cash instead of subsidies on a national scale and this discontinuation is a big setback to Aadhar.

But, there are bigger dangers bedevilling Aadhar. The Supreme Court has said Aadhar identity cannot be mandatory to get government benefits. The government in the remaining two weeks won't be able to get a law to mandate Aadhar and worse, the BJP has been saying it prefers the national population register to transfer benefits than Aadhar . The key question is, if the next government were not actively back Aadhar, has the system created enough mass of benefits for state governments, banks, and the lay citizen to want the scheme to continue.

In an interview with CNBC-TV18’s Latha Venkatesh, Sanjay Jaju, IT Secretary of Andhra Pradesh, M Balachandran, Chairman of National Payments Corporation, a company that ensures cheaper payment systems between banks and Govindraj Etiraj, former editor of CNBC-TV18, who has served one year as a volunteer in the UIDAI, share their views on the future of Aadhar.

Below is the verbatim transcript of their interview with CNBC-TV18's Latha Venkatesh
Q: As a leading bureaucrat who has used Aadhar in your state just tell us to what extent is Aadhar important for Andhra Pradesh government to transfer benefits?
Jaju: Andhra Pradesh is one state which has actually completed the enrolment for the entire population. More than eight crore Aadhar numbers have been generated for our state and rest of the numbers are in the pipeline. We have also setup permanent enrolment centers for residents to come and update their Aadhar status or for the residual population to get themselves enrolled.

We are the first state also to start the seeding of various beneficiary databases with Aadhar numbers and we were also the first state possibly to have started the direct benefit transfer (DBT), especially with the LPG, NREGA wages and pensions. We had started to make use of Aadhar as a base for DBT. There were challenges, but I am sure this holds a huge potential and definitely has a future for the country.

Q: To what extent do you use Aadhar?
Balachandran: The day Aadhar became an identity kind of thing, the thought process went to the extent that why not it be linked to the bank accounts, so that any kind of payments that could be made from any source more particularly from government\\'s side could be routed through that number with that as an identification. As far as National Payments Corporation of India (NPCI) is concerned, we are leveraging our national financial switch for routing all the payments which have Aadhar number as an identity. That presupposes seeding of Aadhar numbers in the bank accounts. Today we have about 268 banks wherein this seeding has taken place. We started with a pilot project in Jharkhand in January 2013 and now it has become operational from June 2013.

Q: Approximately how much money or how many transactions? Give me a number as to how many transactions are Aadhar based?
Balachandran: Right now we have about 60 million accounts which have been linked to Aadhar. We have an Aadhar payment bridge as a kind of channel for routing these transactions. Roughly around Rs 2,700 crore have so far been channelized. Every month, in fact in December we had around 11 million transactions routed and January it had gone up to 15 million. What started as a DBT for routing the subsidy for LPG now got expanded to other benefits as well like pension payments, student stipends, so on so forth.

Q: You were telling that it is also getting used by banks for banking correspondence to ensure financial linkages.
Balachandran: Yes, that is another module that we have which is known as Aadhar enabled payment system wherein once the money gets into the accounts of the people either through Aadhar payment bridge or through any other means, now we would like to see that people are able to draw that money through the banking correspondence. For that, we have RuPay as a debit card or ATM card which could be used and the beneficiaries or the account holders go to the banking correspondence.

Q: How widespread is it?
Balachandran: Now around 26 banks have already got themselves enrolled. It is picking up. These people go to the banking correspondence. Use their biometric identification process. Get their account validated through Aadhar number and get the money transferred, that is drawn and even if they have got amounts to be deposited the same system works. Aadhar now as a number identification is used by NPCI.

Q: I get your point that you have been able to have Rs 2,700 crore transferred by the government to intended beneficiaries.
Balachandran: 45 central government and state government departments. 45 departments in the center have been using these kind of accounts.

Q: I want the bigger picture. Where else have you seen the spread of Aadhar?
Etiraj: Aadhar was created for two reasons - one was to give every Indian resident a unique identity, so that is the primary purpose. Of course this identity would be truly portable and mobile which no identity has ever been in this country. Every identity in this country has been linked to either a benefit or an entitlement. Think of the US social security system. It is the only number that you can identify someone with, but it is a benefit or an entitlement that is social security. Similarly in India you have PAN numbers, you have driving licenses, you may have a pension numbers, but it is all a number which is connected to some entitlement or a benefit, so that is the fundamental difference, that this is a unique identity which does not have any property or value attached to it.

The second objective was to make this number truly usable and relevant to people in their daily lives, how do you attach some level of functionality to it. That functionality was authentication, i.e. if I go somewhere and if it is attached or gets connected to some service can I authenticate myself? Once you said authentication there were a host of services which was supposed to be for authentication. What you see as DBT is one such authentication application, the way UID defines it and there are many as Mr. Balachandran himself has pointed out. So that is really the background. It could be to get a telecom card, it could be to even open a bank account which has nothing to do with the transaction. So the whole e-KYC product which UID has launched basically allows people to walk into a branch. There are banks like Axis Bank, Oriental Bank of Commerce (OBC), HDFC Bank, they have all started rolling out. You can go to their branch, authenticate yourself with your biometric and then open a bank account. Earlier opening of bank account meant carrying a whole sheet of papers.
Balachandran: KYC has been a big challenge, yes.
Etiraj: There is authentication. Under authentication comes a whole bunch of applications. Some are to do with delivery of subsidies and benefits. Others are to do with banking. There could be a third element to do with education and a whole bunch of other things which still has to be rolled out as I see it.

Q: In your experience to what extent is Aadhar responsible for the DBT not working, because that was the hue and cry which led to the abandonment of Aadhar being used in DBT?
Jaju: We just heard Mr. Balachandran that more than Rs 2,700 crore have actually being transferred so saying that DBT has not worked will also not be accurate, because amounts have gone. This entire process works on seeding Aadhar numbers in beneficiary databases and this job has to be done by the respective department. Once you seed the numbers then you push those records into the banks and then the banks will ultimately generalise it through the NPCI and then finally the amount gets into the bank accounts.

The challenge here has been accurate seeding of Aadhar numbers, which in many cases could not be done and the reason for that possibly was paucity of time. For a project of this nature to rollout you require time, not just to do the seeding, but to verify that the numbers which have been seeded have been done correctly.
We did not allow that time to be given for this particular project. Second aspect is it has to be done step by step. It cannot be done for the whole country in one go, because the nature of Aadhar enrolment also is not uniform across the country. There are states, there are districts where this has made significant progress and there are states and districts where still the number generation is very poor. So if you are planning to roll it out uniformly you will always face challenges in terms of the numbers being generated and the impact of it or the seeding of those numbers in the beneficiary databases.

Q: You are establishing that clearly it is not Aadhar to be blamed, but probably inaccurate seeding and not enough backing by the respective governments which might have led in several states for the system to not work.
Etiraj: LPG is a very interesting case. LPG was always a very good candidate because it was the oil companies who are equally interested in getting something like this going because they wanted to save on subsidies, so they were almost desperate to add this on.

Q: The sources close to the top management of oil companies said that when they first shared their databases they could read out purely through de-duplication some 10-15 percent of cards. So that was their biggest saving. In their Aadhar related areas if they looked at it where they could delete fake cards and ghost cards, the benefit was more like 2-3 percent, so while they were happy with it they thought that with Aadhar going away they were not really weeping that they are going to lose a lot of money they could have otherwise said.
Jaju: What I was trying to say it is not about the backing. One question you asked was, will a program like Aadhar survive as a voluntary exercise? To my mind it won’t. 

Q:
Yours was the happy case where both the central government and the state government were backing the project. What happens if that backing is removed? Will it be a lot of money wasted? How do you see it progressing?
Jaju: Yes, it would be. A project of this nature would definitely require the backing of the state, because here you are talking in terms of improving the targeting of the various welfare programs that the central government or the state government runs and you are trying to make use of Aadhar as an identity. Seed Aadhar into the beneficiary databases and use authentication mechanisms before you deliver the benefits to the targeted beneficiaries. So to my mind if you look at the post-Aadhar world you have two subsystems. First is the state subsystem, the government subsystem which is around the welfare programs that government run. Unless and until the state backs and not just back, they will have to very aggressively push Aadhar into the beneficiary databases and make this as the sole identifier and authenticate beneficiaries before the benefits are given.

Q: Your sense is the administrative officers will see the advantage of the program, they will back it. Do you think they will want to convince the new political masters of continuing, persisting with it?
Jaju: Obviously yes. We have reached a critical mass. We have generated more than 55 crore Aadhar numbers in the country.
Etiraj: When you say the colour of the next government and that determining whether Aadhar will continue there is no empirical evidence to show that any of the opposition government, if BJP is in the opposition for instance has really gone against it. You can see the top states - Maharashtra, Andhra Pradesh, Tamil Nadu, Madhya Pradesh, Karnataka, Rajasthan, West Bengal, they include ruling government and non-ruling government. The point being that there are enough buyers for this in other party ruled governments or states as well and therefore the chances of this going are as good. Having said that, any government can junk any project. We have seen that before and that can happen again if someone so decides, but I think the merits of this in terms of this achieving what it was set out to achieve are pretty clear.

Q: My suspicion is that the banking system or the financial inclusion angle will want Aadhar to continue. What is your sense?
Balachandran: Absolutely. There are two things. One is Aadhar being used as an identification first…

Q: I am asking you to imagine a time when the government may not actively push it. In that case do you think there is enough steam in the banking system to want it?
Balachandran: That is what I have to say that going beyond the DBT this is an identification process where people would like to indentify themselves with this particular number. It could be for opening of a bank account or it could be for drawing of amounts from the bank account or it could be for any kind of KYC process. For instance in NPCI we have initiated e-KYC, that means anybody who has got an Aadhar number can simply step into any bank branch and use that number for getting themselves identified and it is instant. As of now NPCI is providing this service without any fee, otherwise you can imagine how much it becomes a hurdle for anybody to open an account. It is not only for bank accounts and it is being used for all other financial sector transactions.
Etiraj: I think we have to come back to the fundamental point, why was this created? Like I said there were twin objectives. First was to provide every Indian resident a unique identity. The other thing is there is a study which is being done by two professors, one from Stern which says that at least 25 percent of the identities that are being created due to the Aadhar exercise are actually first time IDs. One of the biggest problems in this country is that people do not have an ID or surely do not have a portable ID. If I have an ID which associates me with a certain function or a benefit in the state of Maharashtra it is useless when I go even two districts away, leave alone leaving the state. So that was the fundamental problem. If everyone agrees that this is something that is asset to the future residents of this country then this is something that surely will work.
Latha: There has been opposition to it. One from those who believe that the privacy is violated. There is opposition from those who believe that there is no security of data as well. So these could be advanced as well. nor has Aadhar ever been espoused as an instrument to control corruption. For instance, NREGS payments. NREGS payments can always be leaked out, siphoned out if there is a collusion between the administrative officials.
Etiraj: Since you mentioned NREGS 2.5 million transactions a month are happening to beneficiaries of NREGA. We did not touch NREGA so far, but 2.5 million transactions, in the context of India it is a very small number, but in the context of Aadhar it is reasonable.

Q: What is your hunch? Do you think there is enough private sector use for it or private sector has seen enough use for it to want it to continue?
Etiraj: I look at the number. 570 million Aadhars issued of an active population maybe of let us say 750-800 million assuming the rest are all children and so on who may not use it for a while. I think that is sufficient momentum for demand and push both. Mr. Balachandran spoke about the demand side and my sense is that the demand side will keep increasing. Sanjay Jaju also spoke about the demand side, my sense is that will keep increasing because people like him want to use this to clean up their databases and make their states more economically sound.
Latha: In terms of use, for instance in Chhattisgarh there is enough evidence that smart cards were used in several districts and those have been portable. Wherever there is a POS machine the smart cards could provide grains and they were a cheaper option.
Etiraj: Not necessarily, but that is a different argument. I think smart can never travel out. That is why said go back to the original proposition, national identity that is truly portable and dynamic. None of these things, whether it is a smart card wherever it is is truly portable in that sense except maybe in a limited area.

Q: Do you think this will survive without if the government made it voluntary and not mandatory?
Balachandran: It can still survive because there are multiple uses and people would love to have an Aadhar card.

Q: What is your sense? Do you think state governments will go ahead with it because enough benefit has been seen?
Jaju: I think it has achieved the critical mass and it will be very difficult to junk it by any government. It would definitely require the backing of the government to flourish although it may survive or it may limp, but we need this to flourish, because this has the key to the better targeting of the benefits and to my mind it also allows us to clean up our databases.
Latha: I take your point that it is likely that even without too much government backing, even without a future government saying it is mandatory perhaps Aadhar has come to stay.
Etiraj: As a journalist let me tell you, the beauty of the government project is, one, they can get junked. Other is once you have got something going it is very difficult to stop it. There are lot of things which technically should not be there, but are still running. In this case there is greater agreement that it should be running at least amongst the few of us here as opposed to not running.

Sunday, February 9, 2014

RuPay Cards to reach 25 m

The National Payment Corporation (NPCI) plans to almost double the number of RuPay Cards, the homegrown rival to Visa and MasterCard, to 25 million over the next two months.

“We have so far issued 14 million RuPay cards, and this will touch 25 million by the end of March,” NPCI Managing Director and Chief Executive Abhay P Hota said.  NPCI is the nodal agency under the Reserve Bank that manages the national payment switch and has developed the RuPay Cards.

RuPay Card, Reserve Bank and domestic lenders-promoted NPCI’s answer to Visa and the MasterCards which control the domestic plastic money market, was launched in April 2012.

It has seen as many as 210 banks, including all public sector banks and some of the leading private sector ones, issuing these domestic debit cards, Hota said. He agreed, however, that most RuPay customers are urban cooperative banks and regional rural banks.

He also said Citi and HSBC will join RuPay system by July. “Today our cards are accepted on all ATMs (1.45 lakh), 8.4 lakh merchant terminals and 70 per cent of the e-commerce merchants,” he said.

About the quick acceptance, he said, for all the stakeholders it makes immense business sense as NPCI charges just 90 paise as the fee per transaction — 60 paise from the merchant and 30 paise from the issuing bank — with the same kind of security; the same on a Visa or MasterCard is as high as Rs 4.

“Our switching fee is only 60 paise for acquiring banks and 30 paise for issuing banks per transaction,” Hota said. On profitability, Hota said, “We will break even by the end of the seventh year (2018-19).”

Hota ruled out entering credit cards business as of now but was confident of traction in the international debit cards. Till now, Bank of Baroda, Central Bank of India and Saraswat Bank have issued RuPay international debit cards, being offered with the California-based Discover Financial Services. 

Friday, November 22, 2013

PayUPaisa Launches Release On Delivery (RoD) For E-Commerce Customers

PayU India’s online payment solution PayUPaisa has launched a new payment option called Release On Delivery (RoD) using which customers can release the payment for the product purchased online after receiving the product.

The company states that this option has been launched with the intent of  helping customers gain more trust on the merchants, while also helping merchants reduce the high transaction cost incurred through third-party Cash on Delivery (CoD) services. PayUPaisa claims that  the average cost per CoD transaction borne by a merchant is as high as 8% to 10% as compared to an online transaction which costs 2% to 2.5%. Therefore CoD continues to be a challenge although it constitutes 60% of the transactions done through e-commerce sites such as Myntra and FashionAndYou. It is worth noting that most e-commerce sites except Amazon have a minimum order value to provide CoD for transactions. Flipkart has limited the transaction value of CoD in Uttar Pradesh to Rs 10,000.

How does it work? During check-out, customers are shown multiple payment options such as credit card, debit card, netbanking or CoD to choose from.  On selecting CoD, RoD payment option is also offered to customers. On selecting RoD, payment can be made through credit card, debit card or netbanking. PayUPaisa releases the payment to the merchant either on receiving information from the buyer or by default after 3 days of product delivery.

RoD payupaisa

It is also worth noting that eBay already has a similar feature known as PaisaPay available on its website for its buyers and sellers to transact. However, on eBay, sellers are paid only during the next payment cycle and are charged at 4.5% + applicable taxes for processing the payment.

Launched in April 2013, PayUPaisa claims to offer free hosted web stores with services like email invoicing, easy website integration and free payment gateway, among others. In July 2013, the company had waived off its transaction discount charges (TDR) for both new and existing merchants until September 30, 2013. In September 2013, it had also launched an automated all-in-one-payment solution targeting e-commerce marketplaces and aggregators that operate in different segments like travel, real estate and collect fees or payments.

Other developments

In July 2013, e-commerce major Flipkart had launched its own online payment solution PayZippy. The company had also applied for a license to launch a a semi-closed prepaid wallet for consumers.
In June 2013, National Payments Corporation of India had launched an e-commerce solution called ‘RuPay PaySecure’. NPCI had partnered with an US-based online payment service provider Acculynk for this initiative.

TLabs incubated VA Tech Ventures Pvt Ltd. had also launched its operator agnostic prepaid mobile wallet, Happay that syncs with mobile number and SIM card to allow P2P and B2C transactions.
In February 2013, CCAvenue had also launched a free package for e-commerce websites that intend to use CC Avenue as their payment gateway. Few months later, it had also introduced an in-stream payment collection service for social networking websites called Social Networks In-stream Payments (SNIP).