Digital wallets, digital payments, Mobile banking, UPI: India

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Digital wallets, digital payments

Limited liability

Ombudsman, limited liability cover to make e-wallets safer, December 6, 2018: The Times of India

To inspire confidence among users of digital payments, the RBI has said that it will introduce the concept of limited liability for prepaid instruments, which includes digital wallets. Also, a new office of ombudsman for digital transaction is being created to take up complaints from individuals for prepaid instruments.

Last year, the central bank had introduced the concept of ‘zero liability’ for card users, provided they acted prudently in not divulging credentials and reported frauds in time. Under this policy, cardholders who lost money due to a thirdparty breach and who reported the loss within three days would get all their money back.

Even where there is some negligence on the part of the customer in not responding to alerts and not notifying the bank, the maximum liability was capped at Rs 5,000 for a basic savings account and Rs 10,000 for most other accounts. For credit cards with limits above Rs 5 lakh, the maximum liability has been fixed at Rs 25,000. However, where the customer has shared his password, he will be liable for all the losses until he reports it to the bank.

On Wednesday, the RBI said that the same limited liability concept will be extended to users of prepaid instruments. The liability limits will be announced by the RBI. According to banks, the liability limits for e-wallets is likely to be lower, considering the smaller transaction size and lower balances.

The creation of an ombudsman for digital transactions, besides providing a platform for customers, will enable the RBI to keep track of discrepancies.

“RBI’s endeavours to promote a less-cash society has resulted in a significant rise in the volume, value and channels for conducting digital transactions. For promoting the level of trust, a dedicated and empowered grievance redressal system is a pre-requisite,” said RBI deputy governor M K Jain. “It will cover all entities falling within RBI’s jurisdiction, which means nonbanks as well,” said Jain.

The usage of digital wallets/ e-wallets


See graphic:

The use of Digital wallets, 2016-18

2018: Indians install e-wallets, but don’t use them

Rachel Chitra, January 28, 2019: The Times of India

Indians and e-wallets, presumably as in 2018
From: Rachel Chitra, January 28, 2019: The Times of India

As many as 85% of Indian users install e-wallets and fintech apps like MobiKwik and Paytm, only to let them remain dormant, according to a study.

“Companies spend huge sums of money to advertise, market themselves, offer discounts and cashbacks to get users on board. But after getting them on board, if usage is low, then it is an indicator that the apps aren’t doing enough to keep customers engaged. And the churn rate (defined by no transaction done in the first two weeks) for India at 85% is worrisome — and is higher than the global average of 77%,” said Almitra Karnik, head of marketing and global growth at CleverTap, which conducted the study.

CleverTap is a Californiabased behavioural analytics company that measured usage patterns in 700 million mobile devices globally for the study. Karnik said if the app is not used in the first two weeks, it will invariably remain dormant thereafter, until a day when the user decides to uninstall it.

About 27% of Indian users uninstall e-wallets within two weeks of usage. But Indian apps seem to have better retention power than their global peers, who have a higher uninstallation rate of 35%. The average rate of reinstallation in India was a low 3%, showing that when a customer has a bad experience with a financial services app, s/he is unlikely to ever return to it.

Paytm did not respond to a request for a comment. Payment services firm PhonePe’s CEO Sameer Nigam said its app retention numbers are much healthier than what the CleverTap study shows. He said that was because a large percentage of its installs are organic (without providing incentives for the download) or referral-driven. “More than 75% of uninstalls happen when the installs are driven by low-quality digital marketing,” he said.

Fintech firm PayU’s CEO Jitendra Gupta also said 85% of downloads of its consumer-facing app LazyPay is organic. The user, he said, sees a clear proposition and is not driven by things like cashbacks. He admitted that the uninstall rate is 28-30%, but said this cannot be the only criterion to judge an app by. “On an average, every user is using LazyPay six times a month. We have 90% repeat users on a monthly basis. Besides, our uninstalls happen in cases where we don’t provide credit facility to the user, and those are obvious cases for uninstallation,” he said. LazyPay provides personal loans and pay-later options.

The legal positions

HC: Paytm to pay damages to victims of hackers

Sureshkumar k, May 13, 2023: The Times of India

Chennai : The Madras high court has ordered the RBI to ask Paytm to compensate a doctor who lost Rs 3 lakh to hackers through the digital payment portal, issuing the directive while deprecating the tendency of one institution after another kicking the can down the road when bilked customers seek redress.

“Even though the public is encouraged to use Paytm, Google Pay, Amazon Pay, etc. , the customer is made to run from pillar to post in case they are affected due to any third-party violations or fraudulent intervention,” the court said.

The order was issued tothe RBI as Paytm is a private entity and such a directive cannot be issued to it under a writ petition. The HC made itclear that the portal is liable to protect its customers. 
“What is surprising is that even when the RBI has issued master directions for both banks and prepaid payment instruments, every institution shifts the blame upon the other and no one has come up with a concrete idea as to who has to bear the loss suffered by the petitioner, for none of her mistakes,” the HC said, referring to the doctor, R Pavithra.

Pavithra’s banker, City Union Bank, argued the money was stolen from her Paytm account and the bank cannot be held responsible. Paytm claimed transactions on the platform are “very secure” and do not go through without the customer’s knowledge orsharing of account details. 

The RBI pointed out that “it does not interfere” in transactions between regulated entities and their customers.

The HC expressed displeasure that all the institutions were passing the buck. It stressed that the petitioner must not suffer while pointing out that she had promptly complained to her bank which, in turn, had sent it to Paytm.

“As per RBI circulars, Paytm had to establish within 90 days of the incident that the petitioner was liable for the loss. However, it failed to do so. Thus, as per RBI guidelines, the amount was to be repaid to the customer irrespective of whether negligence was on her part or not,” the HC said.

Mobile banking

See Digital wallets, digital payments, Mobile banking, UPI: India

Bank Board Bureau/ 2016

The Hindu, February 29, 2016

Prime Minister Narendra Modi approved the setting up of the Bank Board Bureau with former Comptroller and Auditor-General of India Vinod Rai as its first Chairman.

The Bureau is mandated to play a critical role in reforming the troubled public sector banks by recommending appointments to leadership positions and boards in those banks and advise them on ways to raise funds and how to go ahead with mergers and acquisitions.

“With a view to improve the governance of public sector banks, the government had decided to set up an autonomous Bank Board Bureau. The bureau will recommend for selection the heads of public sector banks and financial institutions and help banks in developing strategies and capital raising plans,” the government said in a release.

The bureau was announced in August 2015 as part of the seven-point Indradhanush plan to revamp these banks. It will constantly engage with the boards of all 22 public sector banks to formulate appropriate strategies for their growth and development.

The bureau, led by Mr Rai, will select the heads of public sector banks (even from the private sector, if need be) and aid them in formulating strategies to raise additional capital. It will select and appoint non-executive chairmen and non-official directors.

The non-performing assets of public sector banks are estimated at almost Rs. 4 lakh crore, and they need to raise capital of Rs. 2.4 lakh crore by 2018 to conform to Basel-III capital requirement norms, according to the government.

While some questions have been raised on Mr. Rai's appointment as a CAG cannot hold a government office post-retirement, former senior civil servants say the role is advisory in nature and a part-time position. The government release said the appointments have been made for a period of two years.

The bureau will have three ex-officio members and three expert members, in addition to the Chairman.

2016: Mobile banking transactions

The Economic Times, Mar 22, 2016

Mayur Shetty

Top 5 banks generate 92% of mobile banking value

Mobile banking penetration in India is concentrated among customers of five banks. According to data released by the Reserve Bank of India, the top five banks account for more than 92% of the entire value of mobile banking transactions in the country.

State Bank of India leads the pack with 36% market share, followed by ICICI Bank (21.5%), HDFC Bank (17.8%), Axis Bank (12.8%) and Kotak Bank (4.7%). These banks have managed to increase the number of mobile transactions by being proactive in development of mobile apps and making mobile banking feature-rich.

According to Deepak Sharma, head of digital banking at Kotak Mahindra Bank, his customers are leapfrogging to mobile banking directly from branch banking without using the browser. "Around 35% of our online banking customers are coming in from their mobile phones without having used net banking," he said. As against its market share of 1.4% of deposits, the bank has over 4.5% share of mobile banking. He said that online has already become the primary channel for most of the customers in the bank.

"Overall, 60% of fixed deposits have moved online. But if you look at only retail, nearly 80% of FDs are opened online," said Sharma. He added that it was largely bu sinesses that were obtaining fixed deposits in the branch.

"In terms of number of logins, mobile banking had overtaken net banking more than six months ago. Now mobile banking is ahead of net banking in terms of transactions as well," said Sharma. He said that the fastest growing segment is online recharge, which is driving transactions.

"We are now getting more and more categories online, like bill pay and IPO subscription. We are also seeing systematic investment plans (SIPs) gaining traction. We feel that any simple product that is easy to start, liquidate and monitor will pick up online," said Sharma.

In terms of volumes, the top five banks account for more than 85% of all mobile banking transactions. While the banks are the same as the toppers in transaction value, the rankings and consequent market shares vary slightly for volumes.State Bank of India again led the pack with a 38.5% market share, followed by ICICI Bank at 17.7%, Axis (15.3%), HDFC Bank (9.9%) and Kotak Bank (4.3%).

2018: mobile banking increases

Mayur Shetty, When m-app matters more than branches, December 5, 2018: The Times of India

Phone vs. ATM transactions at HDFC, ICICI and SBI, Aug 2018
From: Mayur Shetty, When m-app matters more than branches, December 5, 2018: The Times of India

Mobile Is Primary Channel For Transactions At HDFC Bank

HDFC Bank’s mobile banking outage has caused a bigger stir than the usual closure of all bank branches on weekends.

A glitch had made HDFC Bank’s new mobile app nonfunctional for six days. Why was the HDFC Bank mobile app blackout such a major issue? The reason is the sheer volume of transactions that take place through this channel. HDFC Bank’s mobile app accounted for Rs 34,335 crore of transactions in August, which is almost twice the Rs 18,597 crore that its customers conducted through ATMs.

If non-financial aspects such as balance enquiry are included, more than twothirds of all transactions today take place through the mobile app for HDFC Bank. According to a source in the bank, the mobile app has become the primary channel for many customers with all the functionalities of internet banking available within it.

Meanwhile, HDFC Bank finally restored its mobile services on Tuesday evening by providing its older app on Android Play and Apple’s App Store, thereby restoring the m-banking channel.

In terms of value, HDFC Bank accounts for 15% of all mobile banking transactions in the country. Also, HDFC Bank and other private lenders have been most successful in digitising their customers compared to PSU peers. For instance, while State Bank of India records a higher volume of mobile banking transactions, the value of its m-banking transactions at Rs 30,411 crore is less than a third of the value of ATM transactions at Rs 1.10 lakh crore.

According to bankers, the security level in banking through mobile applications is also higher because there are several levels of authentication, including the device and mobile number. “In India, many customers have leapfrogged to mobile banking without using internet banking. Even in internet banking — where customers log into the bank’s website — it is the mobile device that is being used,” said an executive with a private bank. Given that many customers do not visit the bank branch even once a month, savings account holders are more affected by a mobile banking downtime than a bank strike, he added.

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