Non-resident Indians (NRIs) will now be able to make utility bill payments for their family in India as the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) on Friday proposed to enable Bharat Bill Payment System (BBPS) to accept cross-border inward payments.
BBPS, owned and operated by the National Payments Corporation of India (NPCI), offers an interoperable platform for standardised bill payment experience, with over 20,000 billers onboarded on the system and is currently accessible to people residing in India only.
More than 80 million transactions are processed on the payments platform on a monthly basis.
The rationale behind the RBI move is to make it easier for the NRIs who do not have access to a full suite of bill collectors or may not have a NRE account should be able to make utility payments on behalf of their family.
“This is essentially a measure of convenience for NRIs and for their relatives staying here. The whole idea is that they will be able to pay any bill – insurance, electricity, and other utilities – through a system and interface that will be provided by exchange houses or banks,” said T Rabi Sankar, deputy governor, RBI.
This will also benefit payment of bills of any biller onboarded on the BBPS platform in an interoperable manner. The RBI will come out with the necessary guidelines on this shortly.
BBPS offers a myriad of bill collection categories, such as electricity, telecom, DTH, gas, water bills, and other repetitive payments like insurance premium, mutual funds, school fees, institution fees, credit cards, fastag recharge, local taxes, housing society payments at one single window. The payment mode options facilitated under the ecosystem are cards (credit, debit, and prepaid), NEFT Internet Banking, UPI, wallets, Aadhaar-based payments, and cash.
The objective is not really to target more inward remittances. This is being provided to ease of payment for many families, especially senior citizens who find it difficult to make their payments and whose children reside abroad, RBI governor said.
“It is a step in the right direction to continue growing BBPS with a new use case as it may get additional foreign exchange into the country,” said Pranay Jhaveri, managing director (India & South Asia), Euronet Worldwide.
“In our view, this shall be an additional enabler to widen the scope and ease of access of the payment systems and shall not be a material enhancer or inhibitor for forex inflows or fee income as a whole for various market participants,” said Anil Gupta, vice-president, Co group head (financial sector ratings), ICRA.