The Reserve Bank of India (RBI) has released the Payment System Touchpoint Geolocation Framework. The framework is part of the central bank’s goal to deepen digital payments and provide inclusive access to all citizens of the country. Geolocation of payment system touchpoints will enable proper monitoring of the availability of payment acceptance infrastructure like Point of Sale (PoS) terminals, Quick Response (QR) codes, etc.
In turn, such oversight will support policy intervention to optimize payment infrastructure delivery.
RBI said that “to achieve this goal, it is imperative that a robust payment acceptance infrastructure is available and accessible across the country.”
“Capturing the precise location of existing payment system acceptance touchpoints/infrastructure (hereafter referred to as payment touchpoints) is critical to scaling and enforcing response strategies. This requirement can be effectively facilitated by the geolocation of payment contact points.” RBI added.
Geolocation is said to capture the geographic coordinates (latitude and longitude) of payment touchpoints deployed by merchants to receive payments from their customers. the geographic coordinates (latitude and longitude) of payment touchpoints deployed by merchants to receive payments from their customers. Among the many benefits of geolocation is that it provides insight into regional penetration of digital payments. It further monitors the infrastructure density at different locations. Additionally, geolocation identifies opportunities to deploy additional payment touchpoints and facilitate targeted digital literacy programs.
As part of this framework, bank/non-bank PSOs must capture and maintain the geographic coordinates of all payment touchpoints. In addition, the geolocation of PoS terminals and paper/soft QR codes must be submitted to RBI.
PoS terminals include – Mobile PoS, Soft PoS, Tablet PoS, Desktop PoS, Self-Service PoS Kiosk, Android Based PoS Terminals, Non-Android Based PoS Terminals with Built-in GPRS SIM Card, Non-Android Based PoS Terminals with Connectivity of PSTN line, etc. Meanwhile, QR codes consist of Bharat QR, UPI QR, etc.
There are broad categories of physical infrastructure for digital payment transactions made by customers using payment touchpoints. Firstly, banking infrastructure includes bank branches, offices, extension counters, automated teller machines (ATMs)/cash deposit machines (CDMs), cash machines (CRMs), micro- ATMs used by commercial correspondents (BC), etc. acceptance infrastructure such as point 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 register with the precise location of all payment touchpoints across the country. This register should include information such as general merchant details (name, merchant ID, merchant type, merchant category, merchant contact details, merchant/payment aggregator information, if applicable, etc.) ; Merchant location details; and payment touchpoint details, including locations.
Banks and non-banks can report payment touch point information to the Reserve Bank through the Centralized Information Management System (CIMS).
Full details of existing payment touchpoints should be reported by banks and non-banks to the central bank. Also, details of additional touchpoints as the rollout progresses, within seven calendar days of endpoint operationalization/activation. In addition, any updates and changes to existing payment touchpoints must be reported within seven calendar days from the date of update.
Meanwhile, RBI directs that all banks and non-banking PSOs shall be solely responsible for ensuring that data on payment touchpoints deployed and merchants acquired/onboarded by them is up-to-date and accurate. Further, the RBI has directed these PSOs to put in place the necessary measures from their side to ensure the timely capture and submission of the required information to the RBI in accordance with the stated timelines.
Banks and non-bank PSOs are requested to submit Nodal Agent details for geotagging by March 31, 2022. RBI will provide login credentials to Bank/Non-Bank PSO Nodal Agents to submit their details in CIMS.
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