Reserve Announces Retail Digital Payments for Offline Users

In a significant move, Reserve Bank of India (RBI) Governor, Shaktikanta Das, on Friday announced a new scheme on retail digital payments solutions in the offline mode.

Launching the Scheme, the RBI Governor said, “A scheme to test technologies that enable digital payments even in remote places where internet connectivity is either absent or barely available was announced in August 2020. Given the encouraging experience gained from the pilot tests, it is proposed to introduce a framework for retail digital payments in offline mode across the country. This will further expand the reach of digital payments and open up new opportunities for individuals and businesses."  

Under the pilot scheme, payment system operators (PSO) banks and non-banks may offer digital payments offline.  This offline implies that payments that do not require internet connectivity to take effect. The RBI said absence of, or erratic, internet connectivity, especially in remote areas, is a major impediment for adoption of digital payments.

The Central Bank has been encouraging companies to develop offline payment solutions. It is, hence, proposed to permit a pilot scheme for small value payments in offline mode with built-in features for safeguarding the interest of users, liability protection, etc," the Governor said last year. Availability of options to make offline payments, using cards, wallets or mobile devices could boost the adoption of digital payments, it said.


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