Reserve Bank of India (RBI) Governor Shaktikanta Das has proposed to expand the scope of e-RUPI vouchers by granting permission to non-bank prepaid instrument issuers to issue them, according to the RBI monetary policy statement issued on June 8, 2023.
With over 35 non-bank PPI issuers, including Amazon Pay, Bajaj Finance, Ola Financial Services, PayU Payments Pvt Ltd, and Phone Pe Pvt Ltd, this move is set to significantly widen the scope of e-RUPI vouchers.
“At present purpose specific e-RUPI digital vouchers are issued by the banks. It is now purposed to expand the scope of e-RUPI vouchers by permitting non-bank prepaid instruments issuers, ie, PPI issuers to issue e-RUPI vouchers,” Das said.
“It is also proposed to enable issuance of e-RUPI vouchers on behalf of individuals and to simplify the process of issuance, redemption and a few other aspects of the current framework. These measure will make the benefits of e-RUPI digital vouchers accessible to a wider set of users and further deepen the penetration of digital payments in the country,” Das added.
Introduced by Prime Minister Narendra Modi on August 2, 2021, e-RUPI is a cashless and contactless digital payment solution. It acts as a digital voucher that beneficiaries receive on their phones via SMS or QR code. This pre-paid voucher can be redeemed at any accepting centre, thus making it a convenient mode of payment.
For instance, if the government intends to cover a specific treatment at a designated hospital for an employee, an e-RUPI voucher can be issued through a partner bank, which was done during Covid-19 pandemic. The beneficiary will receive a QR code on their phone, which they can utilise to pay for services at the specified hospital. In essence, e-RUPI is a one-time contactless and cashless voucher-based payment method that eliminates the need for cards, digital payment apps, or even Internet on the beneficiaries’ phone.
These vouchers eliminate the need for carrying physical vouchers. The redemption process is simplified, involving just two steps. e-RUPI ensures privacy by eliminating the necessity of sharing personal details during redemption.
Consumers can redeem the vouchers without requiring a digital payment app or a bank account, making it accessible to a broader user base.
e-RUPI is expected to bolster the transparency and effectiveness of direct benefit transfer (DBT). Since physical vouchers are not required, sponsors of these vouchers can also achieve cost savings. Service providers get real-time payments due to e-RUPI’s prepaid nature.