Digital payments without the internet: All you need to know

If someone is in a rural area and doesn’t have any cash or internet access, he can still buy something or make a transaction of up to Rs 200 using their mobile phone or wallet.

This is now feasible, as the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) announced a framework on Monday that allows offline payments of up to Rs 200 per transaction, subject to a total limit of Rs 2,000, in order to encourage digital transactions in rural and semi-urban regions. 

How will the new payment system work?

A transaction that does not require internet or telecom connectivity is referred to as an “offline digital payment.”

Payments can be made face-to-face (proximity mode) via any channel or instrument, such as cards, wallets, and mobile devices, in the offline mode. 

The Reserve Bank of India stated that these transactions will not require an additional factor of authentication (AFA), and that because the transactions occur offline, the consumer will receive warnings (through SMS and/or e-mail) after a time lag. 

Overall limit and framework

Transactions are subject to a limit of Rs 200 per transaction and an overall limit of Rs 2,000 for all transactions until the balance in the account is replenished. Balance replenishment can only occur in an online mode.

The framework integrates feedback from pilot experiments on offline transactions undertaken in various sections of the country from September 2020 to June 2021, according to the statement. 

The offline mode of payment can be enabled after obtaining the specific consent of the customer.

Customers will continue to enjoy protection under the provisions of circulars limiting customer liability and will have recourse to the Reserve Bank’s Integrated Ombudsman Scheme for grievance redress.

Offline payments can be made using any channel or instrument, like cards, wallets, and mobile devices.

(With inputs from agencies)

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