RBI Announces Additional Factor of Authentication (AFA) Mandatory after March 31

Come April, there will be no automatic recurring payment for various services including recharge and utility bill as the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) has made Additional Factor of Authentication (AFA) mandatory after March 31. However, banks and payment gateways are seeking additional time to comply with the RBI directive on automatic recurring payment.

On December 4, the RBI had directed all banks including RRBs, NBFCs, and payment gateways that the processing of recurring transactions (domestic or cross-border) using cards or Prepaid Payment Instruments (PPIs) or Unified Payments Interface (UPI) under arrangements/practices not compliant with AFA would not be continued beyond March 31, 2021.

As part of risk mitigation measure, RBI announced this step to bolster safety and security of card transactions.

Non-readiness of some of the players could impact recurring payment such as of utility bills, recharge of phone, DTH and OTT, among others, post March 31.

Recently, the RBI enhanced the limit for contactless card transactions and e-mandates for recurring transactions through cards (and UPI) from Rs 2,000 to Rs 5,000 from January 1, 2021 with a view to further the adoption of digital payments in a safe and secure manner.

Under the new norms, banks will be required to inform customers in advance about recurring payment due and transaction would be carried following nod from the customer. So the transaction would not be automatic but would be done after authentication from the customer.

For recurring payments above Rs 5,000, banks are required to send one-time password to customer as per the new guidelines.

“All the ecosystem players, be it banks and payment gateways, are guilty of not taking RBI directive seriously from 2019 and not being able to come on a single platform, which we should have done at least a couple of months back, so that there could have been a smooth transition to the new way of doing recurring transactions,” Payments Council Of India (PCI) Chairman Vishwas Patel was quoted by PTI as saying.

A senior executive at an e-commerce company said the industry is not prepared to implement the e-mandate framework.

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