HDFC Bank has gone live with the Bharat Bill Payments System (BBPS) on its net banking website. It looks like HDFC Bank has partnered with BillDesk for the implementation as the net banking page redirects users to payments.billdesk.com. The BBPS is a centralized system where banks and non-banks can allow a network of agents to access bill payment services in an interoperable manner. (hat tip: Rishi Tandon)

Using manual as well as automatic modes, the NPCI wants to create massive agent networks and POS kiosks, which would act as gateways to accept every type of bill payment.

To recap, the BBPS allows billers to collect recurring payments for services provided by utility service providers. Gradually, the scope will be extended to include services facilitating the collection of other types of repetitive payments, such as school and university fees, municipal taxes and payments etc.

The central unit for the BBPS is the National Payments Corporation of India (NPCI) and there are  37 banks and seven non- banks who act as operating units. On the BBPS, a customer can pay a bill even if an operating unit does not have a direct agreement for bill payments. For example, a customer of Reliance Energy will be able to pay his electricity bill at any Oxigen outlet even though the two companies do not have a direct agreement for payments.

Currently, HDFC Bank’s BBPS page has the following biller categories:

– Utilities (Gas/ Water/ ISP/ Property Tax)
– Mobile/Telephone
– Electricity
– Insurance Premiums
– Mutual Funds
– Credit cards
– Magazine subscriptions
– Donations to NGOs and charities
– Rental payments

The BBPS service also allows users to issue standing instructions for bills to be paid automatically and allows mobile and DTH recharges. It also has a feature to check the status of an online transaction of a bill payment and also lets customers raise a complaint against a biller or an agent.

Currently, the following non-banks have got a licence to operate as an operating unit: Paytm, PayU, ItzCash, Spice Digital, BillDesk, Oxigen, Euronet, the government’s Common Services Centres (CSC).

Also read: Initially only utility bills can be paid through the BBPS, says AP Hota, CEO of NPCI and India finalizes guidelines for online bill payment system for repetitive payments