The Reserve Bank of India (RBI) announced yesterday that it is planning to standardise timelines to resolve customer complaints and compensation claims across all authorized digital payments systems. The new framework will be in place by the end of June. It said the various payment systems – UPI, NEFT, IMPS – had different timelines for resolving customer complaints, which the new framework would standardize. “It is necessary to harmonise the turnaround time of resolution of customer complaints and chargebacks, and to have a compensation framework in place for the benefit of customers,” the RBI’s note read.

The RBI also announced a plan to benchmark India’s payment systems against those in “major countries” to gauge India’s progress and give further impetus to digital payments. The bank said it will release a report with the results of the bench-marking by the end of May.

Ombudsman set up in January

The RBI announced its plan to create a digital payments ombudsman in its monetary policy statement on December 5, 2018. It launched the ombudsman scheme on January 31 as a free and quick way to resolve complaints about digital transactions conducted through non-bank entities regulated by RBI. Complaints relating to digital transactions conducted through banks would continue to be handled by the banking ombudsman. The RBI’s note also said:

  • The offices of the ombudsman for digital transactions will function from the existing 21 offices of the banking ombudsman.
  • Each office will handle customer complaints from its territorial jurisdiction.
  • The scheme will have an appellate mechanism, which provides the option to appeal the against the decision of the ombudsman.

RBI’s digital payments committee

Apart from the ombudsman, the RBI also announced the creation of a new committee on digital payments in January. Headed by former UIDAI chairman Nandan Nilekani, its goal is to push digital payments and enhance financial inclusion in India. The mandate of the committee is to:

  • Assess the existing status of digital payments
  • Identify gaps and suggest ways to bridge them
  • Assess the existing levels of digital payments in financial inclusion
  • Suggest measures to enhance the security of digital payments
  • Analyse best practices for digitisation of economy through payments
  • Provide a medium-term strategy for deepening digital payments
  • Provide a roadmap for increasing customer confidence in digital payments