The Reserve Bank of India (RBI) has extended the last date for companies and entities looking to undertake billing business under the Bharat Bill Payment System (BBPS). Companies can now apply to become an operating unit (BBPOU) till December 31, 2017, from the earlier May 31, 2017.

This extension is applicable to the companies which did not apply for authorization as a BBPOU, or whose application for BBPOU was returned by RBI, or was granted an extension of time by RBI but were not able to achieve and report the required net worth by December 31, 2016.

What is the BBPS?

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. Initially, the system allows billers to collect recurring payments for services provided by utility providers such as power, water, gas and telecom services. 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.

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.

Who has an operating unit licence?

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. 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).

HDFC Bank has gone live with the Bharat Bill Payments System (BBPS) on its net banking website but it has partnered with BillDesk for the implementation as the net banking page redirects users to payments.billdesk.com.

Meanwhile, Citrus Pay, which was acquired for $130 million by payments company PayU, is surrendering its approval to operate a BBPOU.