FinTech India: The RBI’s Payment Systems Vision 2021

The Reserve Bank of India (RBI) recently released the “Payment and Settlement Systems in India: Vision 2019 – 2021” (Vision 2021), with its central theme being, “Empowering Exceptional (E)payment Experience.” The vision document envisions achieving “a highly digital and cash-lite society” via the framework of the 4Cs: competition, cost-effectiveness, convenience, and confidence.

The futuristic move initiated by the RBI is meant to develop a safe, secure, easy to use, fast, and affordable e-payment system as the regulator anticipates the number of digital transactions to elevate in the future. Aiming to boost the digital economy, while also strengthening the confidence level of the general public in the cashless society, the RBI expects digital transactions to touch the 8,707 crore mark in December 2021. According to the RBI, it will be during the period 2019 – 2021, that the implementation phase of the initiatives outlined in the vision document will begin.

The Vision 2021 is preceded by the Payment Systems Vision 2018 of the Reserve Bank of India. Envisaging building a ‘best-in-class’ payment and settlement system for a ‘less-cash’ India, it aimed to achieve this via 4 strategic pillars: 1. responsive regulation. 2. robust infrastructure. 3. effective supervision. 4. customer centricity.

The Vision 2021 document also carries suitable mentions of developing a 24×7 customer helpline by the RBI for increasing customer confidence for the digital payments system. Then there is also the inclusion of geotagging of payment system touchpoints so as to assist companies in comprehending where and what sorts of transactions are getting initiated, so as to also minimise fraud possibilities. Also included are the self-regulatory organisation, offline payments’ enhancement, and feature phone-based payment services measures by the RBI in its vision document, for payments ecosystem democratisation.

With strengthening of the ecosystem for the payment system firms and simultaneously also simplifying it for the assisted segment in smaller cities and rural India at its core, what is actually missing, however, as per the industry experts, is simplifying KYC, digital KYC, and KYC bureau, and streamlining present policies to allow NBFCs to offer credit cards.

It is also worth noting that in April 2019, the National Payments Corporation of India (for scaling blockchain solutions to build resilient, real-time, and strengthened digital payments solutions) had released an Expression of Interest (EOI) allowing bidders to present their impetus for developing distributed ledger technology / blockchain in the payment domain, reports Business Today. With such promising and coordinated efforts from the stakeholder institutions towards making the digital payments ecosystem stronger as a whole, the future of building a world-leading FinTech industry in India seems soon approaching.