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Home / News / India /  RBI unveils framework for geo-tagging of payment system touch points to deepen digital transactions

The Reserve Bank of India (RBI) has released the framework for geo-tagging of payment system touch points. The framework is part of the central bank's focus for deepening digital payments and providing inclusive access to all citizens of the country. Geo-tagging of payment system touch points will enable proper monitoring of availability of payment acceptance infrastructure like Points of Sale (PoS) terminals, Quick Response (QR) codes, etc.

In turn, such monitoring will support policy intervention to optimize the distribution of payment infrastructure.

RBI said, "to achieve this objective, it is imperative that robust payment acceptance infrastructure is available and accessible across the length and breadth of the country."

"Capturing the accurate location of existing payment system touch points/acceptance infrastructure (hereinafter referred to as payment touch points), is essential to upscaling and chalking out intervention strategies. This requirement can be effectively facilitated by geo-tagging of payment touch points," RBI added.

Geo-tagging is said to capture the geographical coordinates (latitude and longitude) of payment touch points deployed by merchants to receive payments from their customers. the geographical coordinates (latitude and longitude) of payment touch points deployed by merchants to receive payments from their customers. Among many benefits of geo-tagging are that it provides insights on regional penetration of digital payments. It further monitors infrastructure density across different locations. Also, geo-tagging identifies the scope for deploying additional payment touch points, and facilitates focused digital literacy programmes.

Under the framework, Banks/Non-bank PSOs shall capture and maintain geographical coordinates for all payment touch points. Further, geo-tagging in respect to PoS terminals and Paper-based/Soft QR Codes should be submitted to RBI.

PoS terminals include - mobile PoS, soft PoS, tablet PoS, desktop PoS, self-service kiosk PoS, android-based PoS terminals, non-android-based PoS terminals with GPRS SIM Card-embedded, non-android-based PoS terminals with PSTN Line Connectivity, etc. Meanwhile, QR codes consist of Bharat QR, UPI QR, etc.

There are broad categories of physical infrastructure for digital payment transactions carried out by customers using payment touch points. Firstly, banking infrastructure comprises bank branches, offices, extension counters, Automated Teller Machines (ATMs) / Cash Deposit Machines (CDMs), Cash Recycler Machines (CRMs), micro-ATMs used by Business Correspondents (BCs), etc. Secondly, payment acceptance infrastructure such as Points of Sale (PoS) terminals, Quick Response (QR) codes deployed by banks/non-bank Payment System Operators (PSOs), etc.

RBI directs all banks and non-banks to maintain a registry with accurate location of all payment touch points across the country. This registry should include information such as general merchant details (name, merchant ID, merchant type, merchant category, merchant contact details, merchant/payment aggregator information, if any, etc.); merchant location details; and payment touch point details including locations.

Banks and non-banks can report information on payment touch points to the Reserve Bank through the Centralised Information Management System (CIMS).

All details of existing payment touch points should be deployed by banks and non-banks to the central bank. Further, details of additional touch points as and when deployed, within seven calendar days from operationalisation/activation of the terminal. Also, any updates and changes about the existing payment touch points shall be reported within seven calendar days from the date of updation.

Meanwhile, RBI directs that all banks and non-bank PSOs will be solely responsible for ensuring data about payment touch points deployed and the merchants acquired/on-boarded by them is up to date and accurate. Further, RBI has asked these PSOs to put in place necessary measures at their end to ensure timely capture and reporting of the required information to the RBI as per the indicated timelines.

Banks and non-bank PSOs are asked to submit the contact details of the nodal officer for geo-tagging by March 31, 2022. RBI will provide login credentials to nodal officers of banks/non-bank PSOs for submitting their information in CIMS.

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