Ever since the Modi government announced the demonetization of the old Rs 1,000 and Rs 500 notes, there s been a massive push to building a cashless economy that relies on digital transactions. After the demonetization, there has been an exponential surge in adoption of debit/credit card transactions along with mobile wallets like Paytm. It has been relatively easy for people living in metro and urban cities to embrace digital payments, thanks to penetration of smartphones and faster internet connectivity. But for the rural areas moving to digital payments remains a big challenge for people living there as well as the government. To address this, a new solution called Bharat Bill Payment System (BBPS) is in the works. The system will let rural customers pay for utility services such as electricity, water, gas, telephone and Direct-to-Home (DTH) through a single platform. Also Read - Internet down: Zomato, Paytm, Disney+ Hotstar, Amazon, Myntra, many other global services suffered massive outageAlso Read - Zomato IPO: How to invest via bank, Zerodha, and Paytm Money
The BBPS, however, has been in the works even before the demonetization announcement, according to reports. The system will be launched via Common Service Centre (CSC) by end of this month or early next year. According to ET, the CSC was granted approval by the government to become a BBPS operator earlier this year. The integration of BBPS will expand the CSC s bouquet of services, which currently includes printing of Aadhaar numbers, booking train tickets and other digital assistances to rural users in India. The BBPS mainly caters to rural and semi-rural users in India. Also Read - Aadhaar card update: How to add or update phone number in Aadhaar card online
The CSCs are already offering several bill payment options; however, the integration will enable them to offer the entire spectrum of government utility payments and will further accelerate the cashless drive, Dinesh Kumar Tyagi, CEO, CSC e-Governance Services India, told ET. He also said that the number of CSCs will be increased from the current, which is estimated to be 2.25 lakhs. RELATED: Aadhaar Payment App: Here s how it works
Besides paying utility bills, BBPS is also proposed to add payments like school fees, credit card bill payment, insurance purchases and municipality taxes among others. The platform will be managed NPCI, which oversees all retail payments in the country. The report further says that the CSCs will come with Aadhaar-enabled payment system, one of the government s new initiative aimed easing up the process of getting more onboard to digital transactions.
The Reserve Bank of India (RBI) had issued BBPSlicence to several companies earlier this year and already a pilot project was conducted by NPCI couple of months ago. It is worth noting here that BBPSlicence holders include several banks like HDFC Bank and State Bank of India, along with mobile wallet service providers like Paytm. WATCH: The demonetization effect: Go cashless with these mobile wallets
Information about BBPS comes days after the government started pushing out USSD-based payment transactions. Just like the BBPS, the USSD-based payments is aimed at making it easier for customers who reel under poor data connectivity and still have old feature phones. DON’T MISS: How to use USSD-based mobile banking, here s everything you should know