New Delhi: Most customers of Bharat Bill Payment System (BBPS) use it to pay their electricity and mobile phone bills, according to the initial trends from a pilot project that began on 1 September.

BBPS facilitates bill payments by linking banks and payment gateways with electricity suppliers, cooking gas companies and mobile service providers, among others. National Payments Corp. of India (NPCI), the apex body of BBPS, is conducting the pilot project.

BBPS now clocks 10-20 transactions a day in these operating units, said A.P Hota, managing director and chief executive officer, NPCI, in an interview with Mint. With the aim of making an integrated bill payment system, NPCI plans to make the remaining 40 BBPOUs (Bharat Bill Payment operating units) operational by next month.

Overall, 62 entities (52 banking and 10 non-banking) have received in-principle approval from 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 entities in BBPS and 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 in a single platform.

Although designed to promote electronic payments, cash payments are accepted. A viability test by NPCI had shown that only a quarter of all payments were made online. However, online transactions have picked up.

“It is nice to see the most of the transactions (in BBPS) are in the online mode and not by cash in these operational units," said Hota.

The initiative is in line with the Reserve Bank of India’s (RBI) vision to facilitate payments for customers anytime, anywhere, Mint reported on 15 September.

NPCI will act as the authorized Bharat Bill Payment Central Unit (BBPCU), responsible for all clearing and settlement activities related to transactions routed through BBPS.

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