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Allowing Bharat Bill Payment System (BBPS) to process cross-border inbound bill payments is a much-needed boost for Non-resident Indians (NRIs) who have been facing challenges in paying utility bills for their family and friends in India. NRIs are seen as the biggest beneficiary of the move. Not just that, the move is also expected to drive the economy. Also, this will give a broader market approach for BBPS and further enhance forex inflow in the country. Additionally, this also promotes the adoption of BBPS by global bill payment ecosystems. Apart from hiking the repo rate by 50 basis points, RBI proposed to enable BBPS to accept cross-border inward payments.

BBPS is an RBI conceptualised system driven by the National Payments Corporation of India (NPCI). It offers interoperable and accessible bill payment services to consumers via digital (bank channels) along with a network of agents & bank branches.

All recurring payments can be done through BBPS. These bills can be for electricity, telecom, DTH, Gas, water bills, Insurance, Loan repayments, Education fees, FasTag Recharge, Municipal taxes, Housing society, Subscription fees, etc. in one single window. Also, BBPS provides an interoperable platform for standardised bill payment experience, centralised customer grievance redress mechanism, uniform customer convenience fee, etc.

The payment mode options at BBPS are Cash, Cards (Credit, Debit & Prepaid), IMPS, UPI, AEPS, Internet Banking & UPI, and Wallets.

"Bharat Bill Payment System (BBPS), owned and operated by NPCI Bharat BillPay Ltd. (NBBL), has transformed the bill payment experience in the country," RBI said on August 5 during the policy announcement.

More than 20,000 billers have been onboarded on the system and more than eight crore transactions are processed on a monthly basis.

However, this system is currently available to only residents in India.

Thereby, RBI said, "To facilitate Non-Resident Indians (NRIs) undertake utility, education and other bill payments on behalf of their families in India, it is proposed to enable BBPS to accept cross-border inward payments. This will also benefit payment of bills of any biller onboarded on the BBPS platform in an interoperable manner."

RBI will issue the necessary instructions soon.

The move is taken as positive for NRIs by many analysts.

George Alexander Muthoot, MD, Muthoot Finance said, "One significant development proposed by the RBI is to enable Bharat Bill Payment System (BBPS) to accept cross-border inward bill payments. We believe this will help entities with cross-border remittance licenses like us enable easy payments from NRIs who otherwise have been facing challenges in utility bill payments on behalf of their families in India."

Further, Dileep Seinberg, Founder & CEO, MuffinPay, Bill Payment & Utility Crypto said, "Nearly 20% of the nation's income and the economy is contributed by utilities such as electricity, education fees, and bill payments. It is crucial to comprehend and acknowledge that NRIs play a substantial role in the management of billers on behalf of their family members in India. This is a step towards developing BBPS into a global Bill Payment system. Similar to the global adoption initiatives of UPI by various governments, this will promote the adoption of BBPS by global bill payment ecosystems. The next step in developing a global powerhouse of bill payment systems will be achieved if we can enable international billers to use a single system, as RBI lead NPCI has done with BBPS."

Apart from easing bill payments for NRIs in India, the development is also expected to drive forex inflow.

Shanti Lal Jain, MD & CEO of Indian Bank said, "By enabling cross border inward bill payment system, ease, and convenience of the NRIs will improve along with the forex inflow."

Overall, the August policy outcome is seen as greater NRI interest even in terms of the real estate sector.

Surendra Hiranandani, Chairman, and Managing Director, House of Hiranandani said, "Despite the RBI's strategic decision to raise repo rates in an effort to control inflation, the buyer of real estate seems to be less influenced by the most recent increases. Even with the rate hikes, recent quarter performance has been strong, reflecting the increased movement of home purchasers to purchase homes. A recent report on current residential sales numbers highlights the boost that the quarter witnessed primarily from the luxury segment. Higher premium sales levels are the result of rising demand for larger properties, a recovery of buyer confidence, and greater NRI interest."

In August policy, RBI hiked the repo rate by 50 basis points  to 5.40%. Also, the standing deposit facility (SDF) rate is at 5.15% and marginal standing facility (MSF) rate, and the Bank Rate are at 5.65%.

Additionally, the MPC decided to remain focused on the withdrawal of accommodation to ensure that inflation remains within the target going forward while supporting growth.

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