From electricity, gas, water, internet and mobile to even school fees and taxes, India’s integrated bill payment system, Bharat Bill Payment System (BBPS) is looking to expand and become the one-stop accessible solution for consumers.
In an era, where consumers have a multitude of avenues for all these services, such a one-step solution is welcome!
Owing to this, over 90 per cent of utilities, along with almost all direct-to-home (DTH) broadcasters and other telecom providers are plugging into the BBPS, thus making the anywhere-anytime facility available to the larger population of the country.
BBPS is a centralised, integrated bill payment system under the National Payments Corporation of India (NPCI), which is responsible for instantly gathering all information related to bills issued by telephone, DTH, water, and electricity.
Explaining the new developments, BBPS chief project officer A R Ramesh told TOI, “Among the current category of billers, several water utilities are yet to join. BBPS is looking at expanding both the number of channels through which bills can be paid as also the number of biller categories that are plugged into the system. Currently, the anywhere-anytime payment feature is available through digital wallets, bank mobile apps, net banking and other electronic channels. BBPS sees 4.45 crore bill payment transactions every month.”
Adding to this, BBPS is soon going to include more than two million agents across India to expand the payment network across the country. For this, the NPCI division is going to enrol agent institutions like business correspondents, cooperative banks, money transfer agents and common service centres.
As per the plan, they all will be plugged into the central unit to provide assistance to all those who are not well-versed with the digital methods or do not have access to them.
Further, plans to expand the billing category base is also underway. BBPS is awaiting permission to include other categories like insurance, school and college fees, taxes and credit card payments into its purview.
However, stuck in the maze of aggregators and several digital wallets, many consumers have complained about being bombarded with notifications and reminders.
Although there are aggregators gathering utilities and plugging them all into the BBPS as one central point, the payment on the consumer’s side is being driven by multiple digital wallets and digital bank applications. To increase the usage of their e-wallets, these platforms have been sending repeated notifications of offers and reminders to the consumers.
To handle this, Ramesh said, “BBPS has informed all digital wallets, banks and other operating units that facilitate bill payments not to fetch consumer data from the utility without their consent. Also, customers have the option to make a single payment without a recurring mandate. Where a mandate has been given, the customer has the option to discontinue the repeat payment option on the same platform.”
He added that as per the contract, all these platforms had been strictly asked to show consent-based compliance, before indulging in any of these activities. Also, to maintain customer privacy, NPCI will keep all information, including their mobile numbers, confidential.
In the space of digital transactions, such a move could streamline and strengthen the payment procedure for good.
(Edited by Shruti Singhal)