For the convenience of people to pay school fees and municipal taxes and utility bills through an integrated platform, the Reserve Bank proposed setting up an “anytime anywhere” bill payment system on 7th August 2014. Bill payment is a major component of the retail payment transactions as over 3,080 crore bills amounting to more than Rs 6,00,000 crore are generated each year in the top 20 cities in the country.
While the existing systems are safe and robust, they do not fully address the needs of the consumers/customers to pay a variety of bills including utility bills, school/university fee, municipal taxes, etc. due to the lack of interoperability in the bill payment processes as well as the lack of access to various modes of electronic payments by a vast majority of customers.
The Bharat Bill Payment System (BBPS) will function as a tiered structure for operating the bill payment system in the country with a single brand image providing convenience of ‘anytime anywhere’ bill payment to customers. The centralised bill payments infrastructure will consist of two types of entities:
- Entity operating the BBPS, which will be the standard setting body.
- Bharat Bill Payment Operating Units (BBPOUs), which will be the authorised operational units.
- Those people who have access to internet banking facility can pay their bills online, however there are a huge number of consumers who don’t have access to internet banking and thus they cannot pay their bills online. Such consumers have to physically go at different places to pay their different bills.
- Thus, there is a requirement for an inter-operable, integrated bill payment system in India which provides consumers a single point for their various bill payments near to place of work or residence &enables payment of any bill at any place.
- System should allow payments via any mode (cash, cheque, credit card, debit card, prepaid payment instruments etc.) and includes bank branches, post offices, business correspondents, retail agents of aggregators, ATMs etc. It also should furnish quick confirmation of payment made via SMS or a payment receipt & provides facility of payment of bills via internet banking, mobile banking and IVRS.
- It must also be efficient and cost effectual substitute to the present systems that motivates billers to switch over to the new system& sets up billing standards in India increasing consumer trust and experience &reducing the expenditure that billers incur on collection of bills at their own collection centers.
The Roles and Responsibilities of BBPS include:
- Setting Business standards and processes the BBPOUs.
- Management of dispute resolution, standards for information exchange.
- Marketing and brand positioning of the pan-India Bharat Bill payments systemAccomplishing payment.
- Clearing and settlement of the transactions executed at several BBPOUs Act as final dispute resolution escalation point.
- Set up a single website on behalf of the brand for online payment of bills.
The structure could be further strengthened through an effective establishment of agent networks by the BBPOUs. The entity seeking approval for operating BBPS is a section 25 company under the Companies Act 1956. The criterion for BBPOUs is that the entity should be a company registered under the Companies Act with a net worth of at least Rs 100 crore. Also, the entity must have been incorporated in India.