RTGS To be Made 24X7 from December 14, New Limit for Contactless Card Transactions Now Rs 5,000: RBI

In a bid to give a push to digital payments, the Reserve Bank on Friday announced a slew of measures including enhancing the limit for contactless card transactions to Rs 5,000 and making RTGS transaction facility available round the clock from December 14. The RBI has also decided to grant licence to entities operating payments systems on a perpetual basis, and permitted companies to reapply for licence after one year of rejection of their application or revocation of their licence.

These were part of the announcements made by RBI Governor Shaktikant Das earlier in the day after the meeting of the central bank’s rate setting panel – Monetary Policy Committee. Now the central bank has issued circulars notifying the announcements. On 24×7 availability of Real Time Gross Settlement (RTGS) System, the RBI said it has been decided “to make RTGS available round the clock on all days of the year with effect from 00:30 hours on December 14, 2020”.

RTGS System is used for high value transactions. The NEFT System of payments is already available round the clock. RTGS will be available for customers and inter-bank transactions round the clock, except for the interval between ‘end-of-day’ and ‘start-of-day’ processes, whose timings would be duly broadcasted through the RTGS system.

The RBI also decided to increase the limit for contactless card transactions to Rs 5,000 from Rs 2,000 at Point of Sale (PoS) terminals from January 1, 2021 in view of the COVID-19 pandemic and feedback from stakeholders. Earlier in the day, the RBI Governor had announced that per transaction limit for Additional Factor of Authentication (AFA) relaxation for contactless card transactions will be increased.

“Accordingly, given the sufficient protection available to users, it has been decided to increase the per transaction limit to Rs 5,000,” said one of the circulars, adding that all other requirements, including the discretion of cardholder to use contactless or contact mode of transaction, would continue to remain applicable. Similarly, the limit for processing e-mandates and standing instructions on cards and Prepaid Payment Instruments (PPIs) for recurring transactions has been increased to Rs 5,000.

In both cases, the existing limit is Rs 2,000 per transaction. In another significant decision, the RBI has decided to grant authorisation for all PSOs (both new and existing) on a perpetual basis, subject to the usual conditions, with an aim to reduce licensing uncertainties and enable them to focus on business as also to optimise utilisation of regulatory resources.

For existing authorised Payment System Operators (PSOs), grant of perpetual validity shall be examined as and when the Certificate of Authorisation (CoA) becomes due for renewal. Currently, RBI grants authorisation to new entities desirous of operating a payment system for specified periods up to five years. Similar approach is adopted for renewal of validity of authorisation to existing entities.

In another circular related to authorisation of entities for operating a payment system, the RBI said it has been decided to introduce the concept of “cooling period” in certain situations so as to inculcate discipline and encourage submission of applications by serious players as also for effective utilisation of regulatory resources. The cooling period would be for one year from the date of revocation, non-renewal, acceptance of voluntary surrender or rejection of application, as the case may be.

In respect of entities whose application for authorisation is returned for any reason by RBI, the condition of cooling period would be invoked after giving the entity an additional opportunity to submit the application.

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