In this article we have discussed 19 Frequently asked question on Bharat Bill Payment System(BBPS) which is an integrated bill payment system in India offering interoperable and accessible bill payment service to customers through a network of agents, enabling multiple payment modes, and providing instant confirmation of payment.
Background of the Bharat Bill Payment System(BBPS)
The Committee headed by RBI Executive Director G. Padmanabhan was set up in 2013 to study the feasibility of implementation of Giro based Payment Systems. It had estimated that over 30,800 million bills amounting to Rs.6223 billion are generated each year in the top 20 cities in the country.
It was felt that integrated bill payment system is required in the country that could offer interoperable and accessible bill payment services to customers through a network of agents, allow multiple payment modes, and provide instant confirmation of payment. This should also serve as an efficient, cost-effective alternative to the existing systems and enhance consumer confidence and experience.
In 2014, the Giro Advisory Group (GAG) under Chairmanship of Prof. Umesh Bellur from IIT Bombay was set up to define a framework that enables the creation of pan- India touch points for bill payments by customers. Accordingly, the draft of guidelines for implementation of the Bharat Bill Payment System (BBPS) was placed on RBI website on August 7, 2014, for public comments, and final guidelines were issued on November 28, 2014 vide RBI Notification No. DPSS.CO.PD. No. 940 /02.27.020/2014-2015.
FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS/ANSWERS ON BHARAT BILL PAYMENT SYSTEM (BBPS)
1) What is Bharat Bill Payment System (BBPS)?
Ans: Bharat Bill Payment System (BBPS) is an integrated bill payment system which will offer interoperable and accessible bill payment service to customers online as well as through a network of agents on the ground. The system will provide multiple payment modes and instant confirmation of payment.
2) Where I can find more details about the BBPS system?
Ans: The policy guidelines for the BBPS system were issued by the Reserve Bank of India on November 28, 2014. The document is available in the following link https://www.rbi.org.in/scripts/NotificationUser.aspx?Id=9368&Mode=0. The BBPS will operate as a tiered structure with a single Bharat Bill Payment Central Unit (BBPCU) and multiple Bharat Bill Payment Operating Units (BBPOUs).
3) What is Bharat Bill Payment Central Unit (BBPCU)?
Ans: Bharat Bill Payment Central Unit (BBPCU) will be a single authorized entity operating the BBPS. The BBPCU will set necessary operational, technical and business standards for the entire system and its participants, and also undertake clearing and settlement activities. As indicated in the circular dated November 28, 2015 National Payment Corporation (NPCI) has been identified to act as BBPCU. It will be an authorized entity under the Payment and Settlement Systems Act, 2007.
4) What is Bharat Bill Payment Operating Unit (BBPOU)?
Ans: Bharat Bill Payment Operating Units (BBPOUs) will be authorised operational entities, working in adherence to the standards set by the BBPCU facilitating bill payments online as well as through a network of agents, on the ground.
5) What is the current scope of Bharat Bill Payment System (BBPS)?
Ans: To start with the scope of BBPS will cover repetitive payments for everyday utility services such as electricity, water, gas, telephone and Direct-to-Home (DTH). Gradually, the scope would be expanded to include other types of repetitive payments.
6) Where can we get more details about the activities of BBPCU and BBPOU standards?
The prospective applicants for authorization / approval to function as BBPOUs may approach National Payments Corporation of India (NPCI) for further details on the Procedural Guidelines and other technical and operational aspects / details.
7) Who should apply for authorisation to become BBPOUs?
Ans: Banks and non-bank entities presently engaged in any of the above bill payment activities falling under the scope of BBPS and are desirous of continuing the activity are mandatorily required to apply for approval / authorisation to Reserve Bank of India under the Payment and Settlement Systems (PSS) Act 2007.
8) What is the time frame for applying for authorization / approval to the Reserve Bank of India?
The applications for authorization / approval from non-bank entities and banks will be accepted till close of business on November 20, 2015.
9) What are the eligibility criteria for non-bank entities for seeking authorisation as BBPOUs?
Ans: The eligibility criteria for non-bank entities seeking authorization to function as BBPOUs are given below:
10) How should net worth be computed for a non-bank entity?
Ans: For computation of Net Worth please refer to the instructions contained in our circular https://www.rbi.org.in/scripts/FS_Notification.aspx?Id=9490&fn=9&Mode=0.
‘Net-worth’ should be computed taking into account paid up equity capital, free reserves, balance in share premium account and capital reserves representing surplus arising out of sale proceeds of assets but not reserves created by revaluation of assets’ adjusted for ‘accumulated loss balance, book value of intangible assets and Deferred Revenue Expenditure, if any’.
11) What is the application procedure for authorization for non-banks?
Ans: The application procedure for non-bank entities is given in the Press Release issued by the Reserve Bank of India on October 20, 2015.
The non-bank entities should apply as per the prescribed format given in http://rbidocs.rbi.org.in/rdocs/Forms/DOCs/PSSACRT130215.DOC along with additional inputs in the template as indicated in the above Press Release and a DD/Cheque for Rs 10,000 favoring Reserve Bank of India. The application may be submitted to the Chief General Manager, Department of Payment and Settlement System, Reserve Bank of India, 14th Floor, Central Office Building, Shahid Bhagat Singh Marg, Mumbai 400001. Such applications will be accepted till close of business on November 20, 2015.
12) What is the application procedure for banks to become BBPOUs?
Ans: The application procedure for banks is given in the Press Release issued by the Reserve Bank of India on October 20, 2015.
Banks are required to submit a letter along with the Board resolution for undertaking this activity. The details of the type of billers and bill payments that is being handled and/or proposed to be handled by them as BBPOUs, and a complete list of billers for whom services are presently offered may also be provided.
13) Whether it is mandatory for all entities doing bill payments to apply for authorisation to Reserve Bank?
Ans: The entities currently engaged in bill payments which are falling under the existing scope of BBPS will mandatorily have to apply to Reserve Bank for authorisation.
14) If the entity does not fall under the present scope of BBPS. Whether the entity is still required to apply for authorisation?
Ans: Entities engaging in bill payment activities not covered the present scope of BBPS need not apply for authorisation now. These entities may be required to apply for authorisation as and when the scope of the BPPS is expanded in future. A separate notification will be issued by the Reserve Bank.
15) What will happen to the application when the entity meets all the eligibility criteria?
Ans: The Reserve Bank of India will issue in-principle authorisation to entities which will meet the eligibility criteria and other due diligence process carried out as part of authorisation. The final authorisation to commence the business will be issued after submission of System Audit report and obtaining certification from NPCI to join the BBPS system.
16) What will happen to the application if any entity already engaged in bill payments does not meet the eligibility criteria?
Ans: Those entities which have applied for authorisation but do not presently meet the eligibility criteria will be given one-time extension upto December 31, 2016 to meet the eligibility criteria. During this period the entities can continue to engage in bill payments activities covered under the scope of BBPS.
17) Whether an entity which has been granted extension will be required to inform RBI when they meet the eligibility criteria?
Ans: Yes, the entity will be required to report to RBI as and when it meets the eligibility criteria, but not later than December 31, 2016, for obtaining authorisation to operate as BBPOU.
18) What will happen if an entity is not able to meet the eligibility criteria by December 31, 2016?
Ans: The entities which have been given extension of time but fail to meet the eligibility criteria by December 31, 2016 will be required to become agents of the existing BBPOUs or exit the business of bill payments covered under the scope of BBPS by May 31, 2017.
19) Will the BBPS guidelines apply to billers own collection centers operated by them?
Ans: No. The billers own collection points will continue as hitherto, even after operationalisation of BBPS.
Bibliography– 1. RBI Website 2. Wikipedia