What we missed: On April 19, the National Payments Corporation of India (NPCI) issued a circular asking merchant-acquiring entities (bank aggregators and payment service providers) to provide partial or full refund functionality via refund API (Application Programming Interface), enable real-time checking of transaction status to merchants using ‘check status API’ and the availability of real-time status of complaints through the ‘req complaint API’. These functionalities must be implemented by June 15, 2023. Why it matters: The online dispute resolution (ODR) system for UPI—UPI help was implemented in 2022. However, the demand for refund API is much older than that. In 2017, when demonetization pushed more people to shift to UPI transactions, complaints began emerging about failed UPI transactions and customers struggling to get refunds. At the time, the burden of handling refunds fell onto payment apps and banks. Considering all this, the goal of the original system was to reduce the manpower and other resources involved in dispute resolutions and thereby bring down the burden on banks. The introduction of the refund API, as well as check status and req complaint APIs, could also serve as a step further in reducing the burden on banks. Issues associated with ODR systems: On the flip side, it is worth mentioning that ODR systems have certain data security limitations. According to a report by NITI Ayog ODR systems are susceptible to online impersonation, breach of confidentiality by the circulation of documents and data shared during ODR processes, and tampering with digital evidence. These…
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