The Reserve Bank of India (RBI) on Thursday announced that it will publish data on volume and value of transactions for select payment systems on a daily basis from now on. The systems in question include unified payments interface (UPI), national electronic funds transfer (NEFT), and real-time gross settlement (RTGS), as well as cash withdrawals from ATMs. While the move is aimed at facilitating research and innovation in digital payments, will it make a difference for you as a consumer?
WHAT HAS CHANGED?
RBI tracks the value and volume of transactions carried out through the payment systems it operates, NEFT and RTGS. It also gathers data about transactions on systems operated by the National Payments Corporation of India (UPI and IMPS, among others), as well as the levels of cash withdrawn from ATMs. So far, transaction data for payment systems such as NEFT and RTGS were published by RBI every month, which has now changed. The RBI statement on the matter said, "The data relating to transactions undertaken during the day will be published on the subsequent working day. Data relating to cards will be published once the daily reporting systems are in place." However, the central bank will also continue publishing its monthly bulletin as usual.
AIMED AT INNOVATION
The RBI’s move is aimed at facilitating research and innovation in the payments space, and industry experts are of the opinion that it can make a significant difference. “The initiative is likely to drive technological innovation in the consumer experience segment. While the monthly data will provide more holistic insights, select daily data on payments systems will further enhance the understanding of analytical capabilities for payment organizations, especially with respect to gauging the factors related to the rise in the payments domain," said Mahesh Ramamoorthy, managing director, international markets, banking solutions at FIS, a global company that provides technology solutions for merchants, banks and capital markets firms.
According to Ramamoorthy, the daily data will also help in analyzing trends for particular channels and their predominant usage by particular segments of the industry. “This granular approach with the realtime update will also help in doing threat analysis in the payments systems and support in developing machine learning model to understand customer preferences and securing next-generation digital payment system," he said
NO BIG BANG
This decision by RBI is definitely positive for the banking and payments industry. However, for consumers, it might not translate into any major innovations right out of the gate. “RBI was, in any case, publishing this data, it’s just the frequency that has been changed. While consumers shouldn’t expect any immediate developments or new products evolving out of this, in the long term, it will help bans and payments companies fine-tune their products and offerings," said Raj Khosla, founder and managing director, MyMoneyMantra.
Khosla stresses the fact that the availability of fresh data on a daily basis will help banks and payments companies track seasonal trends and consumer preferences, as well as help them stock and cash manage better. “On the whole, consumers will be better served as a result of this development," he said.
While the RBI’s decision to release data about payment systems on a daily basis might not make a huge difference to consumers right away, it is likely to result in better and more refined services and offering going forward.