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BENGALURU : Big tech platforms including BookMyShow, Disney+Hotstar, Facebook, Microsoft have come together to form a group called the Merchants Payments Alliance of India (MPAI), to contribute to policy conversations on behalf of merchants, relating to matters of digital payments. 

The formation of the alliance comes at a time when the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) has taken several steps to counter fraud and boost the robustness of India’s fast-growing digital payment ecosystem. 

This includes forbidding online merchants from storing card data on their platforms and also introducing an additional factor of authentication or re-authentication from customers for any recurring payment mandates.  

According to MPAI s​​ecretariat, Vivan Sharan, the new alliance will help merchants echo their concerns and have cohesive and constructive discussion with various regulators.  

 “Digital payments concern all of us as consumers. With the industry undergoing regulatory changes, there have to be discussions with respect to general standard setting which are important to address. Further, merchants are not regulated by the RBI and may find it harder to maneuver through these norms. Hence, it is important to form an alliance which provides a cohesive and constructive front (for merchants)," said Sharan in an interaction with Mint.       

MPAI also looks to highlight and constructively engage with the RBI on issues arising due to the unpreparedness of the Indian banking and payment ecosystem with respect to newer regulations.  

It says that these issues could lead to consumer inconvenience and value erosion in merchant customer relationships.

The alliance also looks to become the principal resource platform for merchants and the payments ecosystem to contribute to policy conversations involving matters that help reduce transaction-related frictions while ensuring data protection and fraud prevention. 

At present, the alliance counts 12 entities as members. It has already written to the RBI apprising the regulator of its formation. 

 “The group’s purpose is to be a collaborator to the digital payments policy discourse and Microsoft is excited to be part of this initiative. We look forward to engaging constructively with the regulators and the industry, and working towards supporting the larger goal of Digital India and consumer welfare," said Vishal Mehta, strategic partnerships and payments, Microsoft, which is one of the founding members of MPAI. 

Other members of the alliance include Netflix, Zoom, and Spotify among others.  Some of the members of the alliance are also members of various other industry groups including Internet and Mobile Association of India (IAMAI) and National Association of Software and Service Companies (NASSCOM).

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