RBI finalises Access Criteria for National Payment Systems

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Mumbai, Sep 23 (UNI) The financial strength of an institution will be guiding parameter for participation in the National Payment System (NPS), the Reserve Bank of India today said in the access criteria.

Based on the recommendations of a working group on preparing Guidelines for access to payment systems, the new criteria announced by the Apex bank, in a circular here yesterday, said the RTGS and NEFT systems would continue to be regulated by respective Membership Regulations, Business Guidelines and/or Procedural Guidelines, which are binding on the participant members. The Access Criteria norms only prescribe the standards for entry/exit to national payment systems.

RBI said only financially sound entities would be permitted to participate in the national payment systems and said the institutions would have a minimum networth of Rs 50 crore, have a CRAR rate of nine per cent, and the non performing assets should be less than ten per cent. There should be no default in maintenance of CRR or SLR during the past one year and the institution should have earned Net Profit in at least one of the preceding two years.

Taking into consideration the new norms for Access Criteria, the RTGS (membership) Regulations, 2004 and RTGS (Membership) Business Operating Guidelines, 2004 for RTGS system and NEFT Procedural Guidelines for NEFT system would be revised and circulated in due course.

The new Access Criteria norm was aimed to restrict access to payment systems to such entities regulated by the Reserve Bank of India or any other notified/special institution at the discretion of Reserve Bank of India, to prescribe certain minimum financial criteria for membership to the national payment systems, to extend access to payment systems to notified/special institutions that are permitted to accept deposits withdrawable by cheques, like Post Office Savings Bank.

It was also aimed at providing access to payment systems to certain entities considering their special position in the specific sector, like Non-scheduled Urban Co-operative Banks, Non-scheduled State Co-operative Banks, District Central Co-operative Banks, etc.

The continuation of membership of a member bank will be based on the prescribed access criteria norms and subject to the continuing ability to meet the provisions of RTGS (Membership) Regulations, 2004 and RTGS (Membership) Business Operating Guidelines, 2004 for RTGS system and National Electronic Funds transfer Procedural Guidelines for NEFT system.

The membership to RTGS system would be open to all licensed banks, primary dealers, special institutions and clearing houses /clearing agencies. Scheduled Commercial Banks (excluding RRBs), Local Area Banks, Urban Co-operative Banks Scheduled/Non-scheduled) are permitted to become direct member of RTGS and NEFT if they are financially sound.

State Co-operative Banks (scheduled/non-scheduled/licensed/ unlicensed), District Central Co-operative Banks (scheduled/non-scheduled/licensed/unlicensed) and Regional Rural banks are eligible to become Direct Members of RTGS and NEFT without reference to their financial parameters, specified above, provided they have not defaulted in the maintenance of CRR or SLR during the past one year and have a net worth of Rs 50 crore as per the latest audited balance sheet.

NEFT membership is linked with RTGS i.e., only RTGS members will be eligible to join NEFT except Post Office Savings Bank (POSB), which would be made a member of NEFt in view of its special status.

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