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BW Businessworld

RBI Norms For Issuing...

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The Reserve Bank of India (RBI) will soon come out with guidelines permitting banks and qualified non-banking entities to issue prepaid instruments like mobile vouchers and wallets that can be used to purchase goods and withdraw cash from ATMs.

The RBI's decision to come out with an operating guideline follows the comments it received on a draft proposal that sought to permit banks and eligible NBFCs (Non-Banking Financial Cos) to issue pre-paid vouchers up to Rs 50,000.

Once the operating guidelines are issued by the RBI, the banks and non-banking entities could issue instruments such smart cards, magnetic strip cards, internet accounts, internet wallets, mobile accounts, mobile wallets and prepaid vouchers.

The amount stored in these instruments will represent the value paid by the holder either in cash or through the debit/credit cards.

"It is now proposed to permit SCB (scheduled commercial banks) which comply with eligibility criteria to issue all categories of prepaid instruments," the RBI had said in its annual monetary policy last week.

Similarly, the RBI said, eligible non-bank entities, including NBFCs, have been permitted to issue semi-closed instruments which can be used to "purchase all types of goods and services at an identified network of establishments". The semi-closed instruments include those vouchers that can only be redeemed at identified establishments which had earlier entered into a contract with the issuer for honouring such instruments.

As regards the value, the draft guidelines issued by the RBI had said, "The maximum value of any prepaid payment instrument (where specific limits have not been prescribed) shall not exceed Rs 50,000."


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