RBI permits banks, non-banks to issue PPIs for making payments in public transport systems

Mumbai: The Reserve Bank of India (RBI) on Friday permitted bank, non-bank managed prepaid payment instruments to make payments across various public transport systems. It said these instructions are issued under Section 18 read with Section 10 (2) of Payment and Settlement Systems Act, 2007 (Act 51 of 2007). The instructions will come into effect immediately.
“Public transport systems across the country cater to a multitude of commuters on a daily basis. To provide convenience, speed, affordability, and safety of digital modes of payment to commuters for transit services, it has been decided to permit authorised bank and non-bank PPI issuers to issue PPIs for making payments across various public transport systems,” the RBI said in a notification on February 23.
Earlier, in its master directions for PPI issuers, RBI had stated that authorised issuers will need to obtain permission before launching any mass-transit payment instruments. With the current circular, previous guidelines will be modified.
Last month, the central bank barred Paytm Payments Bank Ltd (PPBL) from accepting deposits, credit transactions, or top-ups in any customer accounts, wallets, NCMC and FASTags. NCMC stands for National Common Mobility Card, which is an interoperable transport card facilitated by the Indian government for travel on metro and buses.
Later this month, the RBI gave Paytm Payments Bank another 15 days until March 15, 2024, to cease accepting deposits, credit transactions, or top-ups in any customer accounts, wallets, NCMC and FASTags.
It said: “Users can continue to utilise NCMC cards issued by Paytm Payments Bank until the available balance is exhausted. However, they won’t be able to add funds to these cards after March 15, 2024. Users are advised to obtain NCMC cards from other banks or non-bank prepaid instrument (PPI) issuers before the deadline to avoid inconvenience.”
NCMC is usable across various modes of transport nationwide, including metro, buses, suburban railways, and even toll and parking charges, eliminating the need for multiple cards. The NCMC is issued by participating banks, so the first step is to check which banks offer the card.
Applying for an NCMC can be done through online banking platforms or by visiting the bank branches. The process involves filling out an application form and submitting the required KYC (know your customer) documents. Before using the card for travel or purchases, one needs to top it up with money. This can be done via net banking, mobile banking, or at select recharge points across the city.

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