De-jargoned: Bharat Bill Payment System
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The Reserve Bank of India (RBI) recently gave an in-principle approval to applicants of Bharat Bill Payment operating units to operate under the Bharat Bill Payment System (BBPS). The BBPS is a centralised bill payment system that will allow you to use a single website or outlet to pay all your monthly or repetitive bills such as mobile phone and electricity. The applicants that received in-principle approvals include Oxigen Services India Pvt. Ltd, BillDesk, TechProcess Payment Services Ltd and Paytm. Some banks, too, have received in-principle approvals.
WHAT IS BBPS?
BBPS is an integrated bill payment system that will offer interoperable bill payment services to customers online and offline. Once BBPS is implemented, you will be able to pay all your bills at one place. You will be allowed to pay through multiple modes of payments such as Net banking, credit cards, debit cards, e-wallets, and even by cash in case of offline mode, and get instant confirmation.
To start with, this single bill payment platform will cover repetitive payments for everyday utility services such as electricity, water, gas, telephone and direct-to-home (DTH) television service. Gradually, the scope may be expanded to include other types of repetitive payments, like school and university fees and even municipal taxes.
HOW WILL IT WORK?
To allow customers to use a single bill payment platform, the central bank has worked on a tiered structure. The platform will have two entities—Bharat Bill Payment Central Unit (BBPCU) and Bharat Bill Payment Operating Unit (BBPOU).
BBPCU is a central system that will connect all billers. In 2014, RBI had authorised the National Payments Corp. of India (NPCI) to act as a BBPCU for this project. NPCI is responsible for setting up operational, technical and business standards for the entire system and its participants, and also undertake clearing and settlement activities. Meanwhile, BBPOUs will be authorised operational entities for facilitating bill payments online and offline. These entities already offer bill payment service to customers, but do so is in isolation.
The integrated bill payment system is expected to be interoperable, accessible to customers through a network of agents, allow multiple payment modes and provide instant confirmation of payments. So once BBPS goes live, you will no longer have to visit individual billing companies’ websites or physical outlets to pay your bills. As of now, those companies that have received in-principle approval to join the single bill payment system will have to submit system audit reports and obtain certification from NPCI to get final authorisation to commence business. Like any other service provider, BBPS, too, will have to provide details of all charges and fees associated with the payment facility.