Six consortiums apply to RBI for NUE licence for retail payments


Six consortiums, including those led by , Tata Group and Axis-ICICI Bank, submitted applications to the central bank on Wednesday to set up a national payments infrastructure rivalling the National Payments Corp of India (NPCI) platform.

The other consortiums are led by Paytm, India Post and Fintech startup iserveU.

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The bank consortium is led by Axis Bank and Bank, with 20% each and co-promoting an entity called MoPay. This consortium also has BillDesk, Pine Labs, Amazon and Visa with 15% stake each, sources directly aware of the talks told ET.

A consortium led by Reliance Industries and Infibeam Avenue has also submitted its proposal Wednesday. Facebook and Google are set to have minority stakes in this entity, as reported by ET in February.

Tata Group has also applied for the NUE licence through its subsidiary Ferbine Payments. It will own 40% in the entity while Airtel Digital, Mastercard and Nabard will hold 10% each. Flipkart, through its subsidiary FlipPay, and Naspers-backed PayU will own about 5% each in the Tata entity. HDFC Bank and Kotak Mahindra Bank will hold 9.99% each in Ferbine.

NUE Graphic

A Paytm led consortium has set up another prospective NUE called Foster Payments. Paytm entities are set to co-promote with Electronic Payment and Services (EPS) and will together pick up 50%. Ola Financial and Policybazaar along with IndusInd Bank may each pick less than 10% non-controlling stake in the NUE.

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Non-bank lender Centrum Finance, Suryoday Small Finance Bank, data analytic platform Think360.ai and fintech Zeta are the remaining consortium players that will have partial stakes in the NUE, those in the know said.

Another consortium led by technology provider FSS, payment gateway RazorPay and payments bank India Post have also applied for the licence. The sixth consortium is led by start-up iserveU technology. ET couldn’t determine consortium partners of this NUE aspirant.

An NUE licence can help the entity gain greater autonomy in processing digital payments in India. That will help establish a firm presence in the financial services ecosystem through value-added lending and insurance services, said senior industry sources.

The RBI had last August issued guidelines for corporates to create for profit NUEs with an aim to foster competition and “de-risk” India’s burgeoning digital payments ecosystem where much of the settlement burden has fallen on the non-profit NPCI over recent years.

“Those who get the green signal from RBI to set up an NUE may well be at the forefront of the next big payment revolution in India,” according to an industry source. “The central bank may hand out more than one license based on the number of applications and the strength of the proposals…it is understood that they may give the go-ahead to not more than two NUEs in the first stage as the framework is experimentative.”

As per the rules, no single promoter can have over 40% stake, which then must be brought down to less than 25% in five years of operation. The entity also needs a paid-up capital of Rs 500 crore to get RBI nod.

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NPCI was established by the RBI and Indian banks’ Association in 2008 modeled around the non-profit payments and settlement entity run by Swedish central bank which is owned and operated by banks

The entity has over the previous decade developed the country’s key retail payment railroads including the Unified Payment Interface (UPI), Immediate Payments System (IMPS), RuPay and National Financial Switch (NFS). It’s also credited for powering the Direct Benefit Transfer architecture which support’s the government’s Jan Dhan Yojana.

In FY20 NPCI had an income of Rs 1100 crore and a net surplus after tax of Rs 387 crore.



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