Despite mooting for tougher regulations for wallets, the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) has opened new avenues of business. Wallets will now be able to undertake cross-border inward remittances. However, the wallets need to be fully KYC compliant and issuers can enable this facility only on explicit request of the customers.

To begin with, a per transaction limit of not exceeding Rs 5000 for such cross-border transactions shall apply, the RBI said. However, the maximum value in these wallets at any point of time shall not exceed Rs 50,000.

These wallets will be issued in adherence to norms stipulated under the Money Transfer Service Scheme (MTSS )Guidelines issued by Foreign Exchange Department. Authorised non-bank wallets companies shall be permitted to issue semiclosed PPIs for a period of one year subject to review.

These wallets can be reloadable and issued only in electronic form, including cards. Splitting of single credits among different modes of payment shall not be permitted.

MoneyGram-Paytm advantage

So far there are eight companies under the MTSS scheme and include Western Union, MoneyGram Payment Systems, UAE Exchange Centre. Most of these companies handle cross-border inbound services. Potentially, all wallet companies can now compete with these money transfer companies.

Update: Note that MoneyGram was in acquisition talks with Alibaba Group’s fintech arm Ant Financial for $880 million earlier this year. But it looks like MoneyGram’s deal with Ant Financial hasn’t  gotten through yet and is in talks with Euronet which is offering a better deal. (hat tip: Mohit Lalvani)

At the time, the company’s money transfer service said it will be able to tap the 450 million users registered users on Alipay—Ant Financial owned payments platform (in China), and the 200 million users registered with Paytm (in India).

Earlier this month, Paytm launched a bill payment app in Canada allowing Canadians to pay for utility bills using its app, including phone, cable, electricity, water and Internet bills, as well as property taxes and insurance. MediaNama had pointed out that Paytm’s natural progression for this business would be to enable cross-border money transfer to India. But it remains to be seen if this is the approach the company would take.

Part of Watal committee recommendations 

Note that the Watal Committee report looked into cross-border remittances into wallets and said that this could be done by creating a new limited Authorised Dealer license for non-bank players only for inward remittance purposes.  This would allow non-bank players to act as Indian agents under the MTSS and issue wallets to approved Overseas Agents.