NEW DELHI: The Reserve Bank of India (RBI) has extended the deadline for submitting applications for the authorisation of a pan-India umbrella entity for retail payments up to March 31, citing Covid-related disruptions and inconveniences.
“Requests were received from various stakeholders, including the Indian Banks’ Association, for extending the timeline,” the Reserve Bank of India said. The central bank had invited applications in August and given six months’ time to apply for a license.
Consortiums of top corporates, including Reliance Industries, banks, and fintech firms, are aggressively looking to create a NPCI-like body for retail payments to cash in on the ongoing shift to digital payments.
State Bank of India, ICICI Bank, HDFC Bank, Bank of Baroda, Axis Bank, IndusInd Bank, Kotak Mahindra Bank and Yes Bank are all eyeing the licence. Firms such asAmazon and start-ups like Ola and Paytm are also expected to join the race for the license.
On Thursday, two leading private sector banks—Kotak Mahindra Bank and HDFC Bank—outlined investment plans in Ferbine Private Limited, which is promoted by Tata Sons and was incorporated on January 18 to apply for the PUE licence.
Industry sources say that the extension would enable another 3-4 more players to apply for the licence. Just like NPCI runs UPI, IMPS and other payment modes, the proposed umbrella entity will create similar mechanisms which will then be used by banks and fintech companies for retail transactions.