Keep mobile banking on hold: RBI
The Reserve Bank of India on Monday asked banks to keep their mobile payment services on hold till it issues final guidelines for such transactions.
Banks can, however, continue to provide basic services such as mobile alerts for credit or debit entry, balance enquiry or other services that are in the nature of providing information, the RBI said.
It has asked banks to dissociate themselves from any mobile-based money transfer service that has not received the regulator's 'explicit approval' or is not covered by its guidelines.
Sources indicated that at present there are no norms governing these transactions and the RBI does not want to allow payments in the absence of proper norms.
"What is the hurry when the final guidelines will be issued soon?" an official said.
The banking regulator has already issued draft norms for mobile payment services and is in the process of finalising the guidelines. But it did not indicate any time-frame for issuing the final norms.
Executives at Bharti Airtel, the most aggressive player in the mobile banking market estimated to be worth Rs 100 crore (Rs 1 billion), said the move was unlikely to have any impact on their plans.
"We are not transferring any money; we are merely passing information," an executive said.
Another Bharti Airtel executive explained that the move was mainly aimed at mobile players that transferred money into a master account and then used it to make payments.
"We are completely compliant with the norms," he added.