New Delhi: The National Payments Corp. of India (NPCI) is expecting eight more operating units of the Bharat Bill Payment Service (BBPS) pilot to become operational by the end of this month. This is in addition to the first eight units which went live on 31 August, when the pilot was launched. The BBPS plan is on course despite the largest reported data breach India’s banking system has experienced so far.

The BBPS initiative was taken by NPCI to implement an integrated bill payment system in the country that offers interoperable and accessible bill payment services to customers through a network of agents, enabling multiple payment modes, and providing instant confirmation of receipt of payment.

“Since the launch, all the 26 Bharat Bill Payment Operating Units (BBPOUs) were at different stages of certification process. Out of which, eight BBPOUs were ready to showcase live transactions on day one of pilot. We are expecting 8 additional BBPOUs to join pilot by end of this month and others to join in coming months," said A.P. Hota, managing director and chief executive officer, NPCI.

Overall, 62 entities (52 banking and 10 non-banking) have received in-principle approval from the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) to function as operating units, but only 26 of them are part of the pilot.

Axis Bank, ICICI Bank and IDBI Bank are among the banking BBPOUs, while the non-banking entities include Paytm, Oxigen and PayU. Non-banking entities like mobile wallets till now used to have bilateral arrangements with utilities, also called billers. Under BBPS, a facilitator will tie up with all billers, so that information about every biller is available to all participants on a single platform. Both electronic and cash payments are accepted in these operating units.

“Currently, we are processing about 20-30 transactions on an average but new BBPOUs will join once our initial pilot phase is complete. We expect the transaction volume to grow significantly over time by then. We will also be adding more billers to cater telecom, electricity, gas, water and direct-to-home (DTH) bills in the near future," Hota added.

The BBPS initiative is in line with the RBI’s vision to facilitate payments for customers anytime, anywhere.