Bharat Bill Payment System (BBPS)
Bharat Bill Payment System or BBPS has been established to function as a tiered structure that will take care of the bill payment system in India and providing a system where people can enjoy anytime and anywhere bill payments. The Bharat Bill Payment System establishes a stable and an organized platform and sets all the required guidelines for the bill payments and collection in India.
Objective of BBPS
The main objective of BBPS is to bring up a integrated bill payment system in India that will include customers, agents, payment modes, etc. so that the bill payment procedure becomes more efficient, quicker, and hassle free.
Functions of BBPS
- BBPS will be responsible of facilitating the collection of payments including that of school fees, university fess or other educational institute’s fees. I would also take care of the payments to be collected as municipal taxes, insurance premiums, and all other government taxes.
- BBPS is wholly responsible for facilitating the payment collection for the various service provider. It will manage the repetitive payments such as electric bills, water, DTH, telecom services, gas and all other possible payments for various services provided to customers.
- BBPS service points will be made available to the customers in the form of branch offices, collection centers, agent outlets, etc. BBPS would also provide online payment options. It would provide payments options such as Cash, Debit Cards, Credit Cards, prepaid wallets, net banking, etc.
Benefits of BBPS
The benefits of BBPS will be experienced by the customers and the other stakeholders of BBPS. Here is a table showing the benefits that the customers would get and the benefits that the other participants would get-
|Customer Benefits||Participant Benefits|
|The customers would get the most convenient option of anywhere and anytime bill payment facility though a network of agents||The participants will get a well-established and organized bill payment system and standards. It will be a convenient medium for transactions.|
|The bill payment units will be made available to people near their work place and homes||With the help of BBPS quite a few number of value added services relating to bill payments can be offered to consumers. It will reduce the risk involved in the money collection process.|
|BBPS has been designed in a way that would provide bill payment options to the huge segment of population that belong to the under-banked or un-banked category.||The barriers that the small billers and the billers with limited geographic presence will be overcome by BBPS. Even they will get an easy access to the market for collection|
|BBPS is said to make available multiple options for the payment of bills including wallets, credit and debit cards, net banking, IMPS, etc.||The process established by BBPS will overall reduce the cost that the billers incur in the process of setting own collection centers.|
|BBPS is aimed at building trust among people that it will provide a safe and a reliable platform for billing transactions||BBPS will promote and lead to the quicker migration of people opting self-service mode of payment rather than assisted modes. Also a shift from cash payments to e-payments.|
|It will provide an efficient platform for bill payments that will generate quick conformation of payments in the form of payment receipts or payment conformation message.||BBPS will promote healthy competition among the different participants in the BBPS system.|
|The bill payment procedure will become extremely easy as the customers will be able to pay bills at any of the BBPS outlets for all the billers who are enrolled in the BBPS system.||The BBPS will establish an efficient fraud monitoring and risk management system that will be very useful.|
The system participants of BBPS
|Bharat Bill Payment Central Unit (BBPCU)||Bharat Bill Payment Operating Units (BBPOUs)||Others|
|It will be a single authorized department or entity that will operate the BBPS.||BBPOUs will be the units that would be authorized by the RBI and they will abide by the rules set by BBPCU.
|Along with the BBPCU and BBPOUs the system participants will also be a part of the system|
|The BBPCU will be responsible in managing and setting standards for the whole system and the participants of it.||They will basically operate under the guidance and guidelines of the BBPS.||It would include agent institutions, sponsor banks, billers, and all other entities that offer payment services|
|It has been announced that The National Payments Corporation of India will be made the BBPCU||Companies that want to be BBPOUS have to apply to the BBPCU||They will be registered under the BBPOUs and follow the guidelines of BBPS|
Eligibility criteria laid down for the participants
Eligibility criteria for BBPOU (non-bank participants)
- To be a participant the company should be a one that was incorporated in India and is registered under the Companies Act 1956/ Companies Act 2013
- The entity applying for participation must have at least INR 100 crore in their previous audit balance.
- The entity should include the proposed activity if operating as a BBPOU in the Memorandum of Association.
- The company must have an experience in the field of bill collection and providing billing services to billers. The experience should for a minimum of one year.
Eligibility criteria for bank entities
- The banks which are willing to be a part of BBPS should get an one-time approval from the RBI under the Payment and Settlement Act of 2007
- All the entities which fall within the scope of BBPS have to participate in BBPS as a BBPOU or a company linked to BBPS through a BBOU. Even if connected to BBPS through a BBPOU, the entity has to follow all the guidelines of the BBPS.
Migration of biller in case of exit of BBPOU
Two cases have been mentioned by the BBPS under which the billers may migrate, they are
- In a case where a BBPOU resigns, which may happen at any point, billers associated by that BBPOU can chose to migrate to another BBPOU. This will total depend on the mutual understanding of the biller who want to migrate and the BBPOU that the biller wishes to migrate to.
- Apart from this if the BBPOU is terminated then the billers’ linked to the BBPOU will be transferred to another BBPOU by the BBPS. This transfer will be for a temporary basis for around 60 days. In this 60 days the billers will be given a chance to choose if they wish to stay with the assigned BBPOU or migrate to some other BBPOU, again depending on mutual understanding.
Seeking resignation from membership
In any situation if a BBPOU wishes not to be a part of BBPS any longer then the entity can file a resignation application with a notice period of 60 days. The letter has to be given to the BBPCU and then the BBPCU will conduct and audit and then the resignation will be accepted. Before the acceptance all the outstanding dues and liabilities have to be met by the entity that is resigning. Before the final acceptance of the resignation the RBI has to be asked for the approval. Once this is done the other participants of the BBPS system will be informed about the resignation and the network with the resigning BBPOU will be disconnected.
Listing of Billers
The billers will be listed to the BBPS system after they have sent a formal request to the BBPOU under which the biller wishes to be. Approval of the listing will be given by the BBPCU. After the fulfilling of all the required formalities the biller will be taken into the system of BBPS. After this process the BBPOU will add the entry of the new biller to their networks. Along with this all the system participants of the BBPS will be notified about the joining of a new biller to the system. Once registered under BBPS, each of the biller will be issued a unique biller ID.
Delisting of billers
The de-listing of a biller may take place in the following conditions-
- A biller may be delisted if the agreement between the biller and the BBPOU has failed
- In case of the biller fails to meet the guidelines of the BBPS then it might be delisted
- If the biller was found involved in some fraudulent practice then the biller would be delisted.
- If the biller declares that it is bankrupt then it will be delisted
Merger of BBPOU
If there is a problem in being a stand-alone entity under the BBPS then there are merger options available with the following procedure-
- The mergers of the two BBPOUs will be accepted by the BBPCU after there is an approval from the RBI
- The BBPOU will have to send a proper request letter to the BBPCU where there will also be the consent letter included by the other company involved in the merger.
- For continuing as the BBPOU the two merging BBPOU have to submit a proper merger letter that satisfies the guidelines stated by BBPS and RBI
Demerger of BBPOU
- If any existing BBPOU wishes for a demerge then it may happen only after the final approval by the BBPCU after seeking approval from the RBI
- The request of a de-merge must be made with a notice period of 60 days within which the formalities can be made.
- When applying for a demerge, the proposal by the separating BBPOU must abide all the guidelines of the BBPS. And the entity that will be a resultant of the merger will have to be authorized by the RBI.
- It has to be noted that the billers and agents are not allowed to shift to the new BBPOU until it is licensed and is registered under the BBPS system. Until this is done the billers will continue to be registered to the existing BBPOU entity.
Notification provided to the system participants
The system participants will be notified in the form of email, letter or circular about the following-
- Amendments in the guidelines
- Delisting or termination of any member from the BBPS system
- Inclusion of any member to the system of BBPS
- Cessation of a member
- Changes made in the regulatory guidelines
- New enhancements of software or hardware that has become a part of BBPS system
Roles and responsibility of BBPOU and BBPCU
|Responsibilities of BBPCU||Responsibilities of BBPOUs|
|Setting standards, rules that can be followed by the other participants of the system.||The BBPOUs will be responsible of releasing billers with accordance to the rules set by BBPCU|
|It should be able to create a process that includes business, technical and operation requirements.||They will ensure that the privacy standards are maintained without compromise.|
|It should also make information exchange standards and come up with a proper risk management plan.||The BBPOUs should ensure that they make available proper infrastructure, network, software and other devices that can comply with the guideline set by the BBPS|
|They will ensure the establishment of a MIS system.||Any changes made has to be notified to the BBPCU without delay|
|BBPCU will establish a system for end to end complaints management system
|The BBPOUs should not use or share the customer data that has been got during the course of bill payments.|
|The BBPCU will take care of the whole clearance process and the net settlement process between the various BBPOU’S||If any sharing of customer data has to be done then the consent of the customer has to be taken|
|It will be responsible for come up with a dispute resolution mechanism.||Once registered under the BBPS the BBPOUs cannot have a bilateral agreement with other biller or other BBPOU for the payments of bills outside BBPS.|
Bill Payment option
Under the BBPS there will be two bill payment options they are-
Registered Customers Pay- The customers will be given an option of registering to the BBPS. There will be no compulsion and the customers who are registered, their data will be stored in the BBPS system. If registered, you can pay as a registered customer and your process will be made further simpler. It will be a one-time registration process and you will be given a customer ID as well which you can use for all your payments.
Quick Pay- Even without registering to BBPS a customer can pay bills through BBPS. One just needs to visit any of the BBPS outlet or website and then enter your bill details and pay the amount without any problem. With just a certain level of verification of the customer and the billing amount the payment process will be processed and the procedure will be completed.
- All the customers, billers and the other participants of the BBPS should follow the guidelines. The BBPOUs are supposed to maintain connectivity for the BBPS service for at least 99.5% of the time.
- Where there is no online facility available the customer will have to produce the bill to any of the agent outlet of BBPS for the payment of bill. And in case of online payments of bill, the system would mostly be up for 24 hours.
- Sensitive data such as PIN and passwords should not be stored and if stored, then only in an encrypted form. Same goes for the customer ID and account numbers. Other information’s such names and transaction history can be stored in an unencrypted format. Protection and verification of data is very important.
- It is mandatory to send the customers the daily transaction and settlement reports
- The participants of the BBPS will be entering into a Service Level agreement with BBPCU and will agree to maintain the rules and guidelines made by the BBPS s all the stages.
Mode of Payments and the flow of each
BBPS has mentioned that it will accept all modes of payments like cash, debit card and credit card, online banking, IMPS and Prepaid Instruments like wallets.
In the case of cash payment- when paying by cash the customer has to share information such as Biller ID, Customer ID, amount and type of payment with the agent. Subsequently the agent will also input the biller ID and the customer reference account number to the BBPS system. Once the bill amount is confirmed by the customer and then that payment will be made. After this a payment receipt will be given to the customer in the form of a SMS or paper receipt.
Payment by card- In case the customer chooses to pay by card, debit or credit card, then along with billing and customer ID details the customer has to enter details of the card type. There are some extra verification steps in this process.
Payment by Net or Internet banking- for this kind of payment of bill the customer would require to provide their account number. And then rest of the procedure remains the same.
It has been clearly mentioned that any form of refund procedure has to help outside the BBPS system. But then it is mandatory for the biller to make updates about the refunds into the BBPS system.
The transaction information for each of the bill payments will travel to the further respective clearing and settlement network. The system will be such that the BBPS transactions have a BBPS identifier and a mode of payment identifier. This will help to identify and note the transactions under the BBPS.
Procedural Guideline Amendments
It has been said that BBPCU will be issuing the amendments relating to BBPS from time to time. The guidelines would be revised timely and the modified version of the amendments would be issued for the reference of the participants. There will also be enough time given to the participants of BBPS to comply with the revised set of rules. As the members join to the BBPS system them will be bound by the amendments applicable in that particular time. Mostly a notice period of 30 days would be given before the revised guideline are made effective. The member can reply or react to the changes and notifications within 7 days of the issue of notification.
Advertising rules laid for BBPS brand usage
The BBPS wants to build a strong brand image in the country and attract the maximum number of customers and companies to it. They have set down certain advertising rules that all the members of the BBPS have to follow, the participants of the BBPS have to use the BBPS logo as well. Here are the rules-
- The member of the BBPS are allowed to advertise their participation in the BBPS with the use of the logo that has been standardized by BBPS and has been authorized by the BBPCU
- It is compulsory that the logo and other promotional material that has been authorized by the BBPCU is displayed on the outlets and websites of the BBPS participants
- If the billers of the BBPS system want to advertise the logo of BBPS then they can do so after they have been approved by the BBPCU for doing so.
- In all the bill payment receipts issued under the BBPS system should have the logo of the BBPS
- At all the BBPS collection points the logo of BBPS has to be displayed
Disclosure standards mentioned by BBPS
BBPS makes it mandatory that the BBPCU and the BBPOUs of the system would make sure that the exact chargers incurred by the customers would be adequately displayed in the transaction receipt and the outlets of collection will have the details id the charges that are levied on the customers. The BBPS aims on maintain the required transparency with the customers and the other participants of the BBPS. The time taken for the settlements would be displayed clearly on the bill collection outlets of the BBPS. This would give rise to not confusion. The people posted in the collection outlets of BBPS would be properly trained and will be well informed about the procedure of collection. They will be able to handle all the customers’ quires and complaints with no delay.
With these guidelines the BBPS will try and establish a bill collection system that is fraud free and is efficient enough to make all the process simpler and quicker.