Mobile wallet interoperability could finally become a reality with RBI imposing new norms for the payment industry. According to Economic Times, the Reserve Bank of India will allow mobile wallet interoperability under the condition of higher capital requirement on license holders.
Since demonetization drive by the government in late 2016, the digital payment industry has grown exponentially and has seen a huge number of transactions. While RBI does not allow transactions between different mobile wallets, the announcement now seems imminent. “We have learnt that interoperability could be opened for only those players with a positive net worth of Rs 25 crore, thereby ensuring only the major wallet companies are allowed in this space,” the chief executive of a Delhi-based payments company told ET.
In India, nearly 50 companies currently hold prepaid payment instrument or digital wallet licenses but once RBI announces interoperability, several would not be able to meet the threshold of Rs 25-crore. The existing requirement is for a net worth of Rs 5 crore that RBI mandates to be increased to Rs 15 crore over a period of three years of operation.
However, the introduction of interoperability is getting resistance from those with payment banks license. “Payment banks have lobbied to the Central bank saying that if wallets are given interoperability then their business strategy will get severely challenged, since wallets will also manage to offer similar products and facilities,” a top executive at a Mumbai-based payments firm told the newspaper.
Despite opposition from operators of payments banks, RBI has decided to announce interoperability for mobile wallets. The central bank announced its decision to bring forth interoperability in the mobile wallets space at the end of last year and promised phased roll out within six months. However, there has been no activity or progress around phased interoperability just yet.
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The introduction of interoperability and increased threshold will force some of the players in this space to lose out. Some of the players have already dropped out due to mandatory customer verification rules announced by RBI. “If interoperability is restricted to bigger players, then there would not be any business case left,” an industry executive told the publication.