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Spice Money launches Aadhaar-Enabled Payment System (AEPS)

Spice Money, the domestic remittance service from Spice Digital, said that can now processing payments over the Aadhaar Enabled Payment System (AEPS). Note that Spice Digital said it was authorized by the National Payments Corporation of India (NPCI) to offer AEPS services in October.

The AEPS allows payments using Aadhaar and biometric authentication and allows a person to carry out financial transaction on a micro-ATM provided by a banking correspondent. At the time, the company said it would deploy Aadhaar-enabled mini ATMs at Spice Money retail counters.

Apart from Spice Money, payments company Oxigen has also been authorized by the NPCI to carry out payments out the AEPS. Oxigen announced that 5000 micro ATMs will be installed across fuel stations on highways nearby rural areas. Oxigen has been commissioned by the ministry of petroleum and natural gas to install the devices which currently allows withdrawals, cash deposits, balance enquiries and money transfers to Aadhaar-linked bank accounts. Oxigen initiated the service in November claims to have deployed micro ATMs at over 1000 rural locations including in states of Bihar, Jharkhand and Orissa.

Spice Mudra wallet

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Note that Spice Digital also has a wallet licence from the Reserve Bank of India and launched a service called Spice Mudra in September 2015 which focused on domestic remittances. Spice Digital’s 3,000 retail outlets will help with the remittances using the wallet and that the company plans to expand to other services such as bill payments, mobile recharges and ticket booking.

At the time, Spice Connect CEO Saket Agarwal said it was seeing an average ticket size of Rs 3500 per person and remittances of Rs 1 crore in a day.

RBI’s push for mini-ATMs

The RBI has mandated that all new card acceptance machines will need to have Aadhaar and biometric capabilities essentially turning all new POS machines to mini-ATMs.  Last month, the RBI extended the deadline for making sure all devices have the functionality. The RBI said that it will be coming out with detailed guidelines on enablement of existing card acceptance infrastructure for processing transactions using Aadhaar-based biometric authentication, although a date was not mentioned.

This is not the first time the RBI has sent a notification to banks about Aadhaar-enabled POS and ATMs. It had sent out a notification back in November 2013 which was met with opposition from banks who said that the cost of new machines would be too high and Aadhaar will have very little acceptance in authentication of payments. The RBI then shelved decision for Aadhaar-based authentication for payments in May 2014.

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