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E-wallets to become interoperable by March-end - RBI

By the end of March, your e-wallets could become interoperable. The Reserve Bank of India had set March 31, 2022 as the deadline for prepaid payment instruments (PPI) interoperability.

What is interoperability?

According to the RBI, interoperability

is the technical compatibility that enables a payment system to be used in conjunction with other payment systems. Regardless of who issues the PPI card or the e-wallet, a user can use the card/e-wallet at any payment acceptance point.

“Sharing of infrastructure brings forth economies of scale in a tech-driven ecosystem. Achieving PPI interoperability through the cynosure of the payments world — the UPI — is a rhythm-changing initiative,” said RBI’s former executive director G Padmanabhan.

RBI guidelines on interoperability

RBI’s latest guidelines state that in cases where PPIs are digital wallets, the interoperability will have to be provided through Unified Payments Interface (UPI), and where they are physical (payment cards), they should be acceptable across card networks.

There are certain exemptions in the interoperability guidelines. Prepaid instruments used for transport, like metro or other public transport cards, will not come under interoperability. However, an issuer of gift cards can choose to make their cards interoperable or not.

Apart from gift card issuers, service providers who acquire merchants will also be given a similar choice.

In line with the RBI’s guidelines, payments platform Juspay Technologies has rolled out OpenPPI, which helps digital wallets implement and comply with PPI interoperability regulations.

“Interoperability essentially means that your e-wallet can now act as your bank account, enabling you to transfer money from e-wallets or cards seamlessly. It opens up multiple possibilities for e-wallet usage. A person can now scan any UPI QR code and pay with e-wallet balance instead of using their bank account through UPI,” ToI quoted Juspay co-founder and COO Sheetal Lalwani as saying.

Juspay is the UPI payment provider for merchants such as Amazon, Google, CRED, Bajaj, Ola, and Swiggy. It also lends its technology to banks like Axis Bank, ICICI Bank and Yes Bank. Now, it is offering digital wallet companies an option to integrate with Juspay’s suite of payments offerings and get accepted across all major merchants in the country.



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