Non-resident Indians (NRIs) will now be able to pay bills for services such as utility, education fees and loan repayments, FasTag recharge, municipal taxes, etc. on behalf of their families back home in India. Announcing the monetary policy decisions today, RBI governor Shaktikanta Das says the move will allow NRIs to make payments and will greatly benefit their families in India, especially senior citizens.

As per the RBI governor, the Bharat Bill Payment System (BBPS), which is an interoperable platform for standardised bill payments, will now accept cross-border inward bill payments. He says the BBPS system has transformed the bill payment experience for users in India already, with over 20,000 billers a part of this system, and over 8 crore transactions are processed on a monthly basis.

"The Bharat Bill Payment System (BBPS) is an interoperable platform for standardised bill payments. This has transformed the bill payment experience for users in India. Over 20,000 billers are part of the system, and more than 8 crore transactions are processed on a monthly basis. It is now proposed to enable BBPS to accept cross-border inward bill payments. This will enable Non-Resident Indians (NRIs) to undertake bill payments for utility, education and other such payments on behalf of their families in India. This will greatly benefit the senior citizens in particular," says the RBI governor's statement.

Launched in 2017, BBPS is an RBI-conceptualised ecosystem, and is overseen by the National Payments Corporation of India (NPCI). It provides an interoperable and accessible "anytime anywhere" recurring payment service to customers on recurring bill payments.

Consumers can do all recurring payments like electricity, telecom, DTH, gas, water bills, insurance, loan repayments, education fees, FasTag recharge, municipal taxes, housing society, subscription fees, etc. at one single window via the Bharat BillPay enabled channels.

The BBPS allows bill payment services to consumers via a network of agents/retail shops or bank branches and digital channels like internet banking, mobile apps, websites of banks and non-bank entities.

The biggest advantage of BBPS is that it allows consumers to have "control" over their bills, and can pay them at their ease. These transactions are done on any customer-facing channels internet, mobile, kiosk ATMs, etc. or physical outlets like branches and retail across the country via cash, card, IMPS, etc.

In terms of charges for these services, for an electronic transaction done at the customer’s bank, there are nil charges. But for a transaction done at a physical outlet or bank branches, the convenience fee would be levied accordingly.

Meanwhile, the RBI hiked the repo rate to 5.4% with immediate effect, taking the key policy rate back to pre-pandemic levels – the highest since August 2019. The policy rate hike will allow the RBI to contain high inflation, which remains above the RBI's tolerance band of 4% (+/-2%). The Das-led MPC estimates retail inflation to remain at 6.7% in FY23. He also says the Indian economy will be the fastest growing economy in FY23. The RBI kept the projections for FY23 GDP growth unchanged at 7.2%.

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