For a mobile obsessed country like India, immediate payment service or IMPS could be a boon, provided the policymakers are interested in promoting this solution
The interbank mobile or immediate payment service (IMPS) from National Payments Corporation of India (NPCI) finally appears to be taking wings. Anyone anywhere can use IMPS to make a payment. For example, one can pay the grocery bill to the shop owner through a mobile phone, provided both are registered IMPS users with their respective banks. Similarly, one can pay a taxi fare to the taxi driver, directly through IMPS. Therefore, IMPS paves the way for all kinds of payments through banks, from a mobile handset.
With so many benefits, it is inexplicable that this system is not being pursued and implemented with more focus and dedication. “IMPS is a real time interoperable payment mechanism and warrants a network effect with a higher number of participating members in the ecosystem. The number of members in the ecosystem has only now reached a critical mass to provide for incremental volumes on IMPS. It is noteworthy that IMPS achieved one million a month approved transactions in the month of September 2013, over a span of about three years. However, the growth, thereafter, has been eight fold in the short span of 15 months,” said Ram Rastogi, Head Product Development-IMPS, NUUP & NACH, at NPCI.
With IMPS, you can transfer money to anyone with a mobile and seven-digit Mobile Money Identifier (MMID) number and that too within minutes. IMPS allow customers to make 24x7 instant interbank payments to individuals, or merchants via mobile phone, Internet or ATM. According to RBI guidelines, a customer can transact up to Rs50,000 a day through IMPS, provided he/she is using end-to-end encryption (provided by the bank). Transactions up to Rs1,000 a day can be facilitated by banks without end-to-end encryption.
Although IMPS offers instant payment transfer, due to the high transaction fee (about Rs5) several bank customers are reluctant to use it. In addition, not many bank customers are aware about obtaining a seven digit Mobile Money Identifier (MMID) number required for IMPS. The user also must have her mobile number linked with her bank account to use this facility. This is because, instead of using bank account number, the money is transferred using mobile number (registered and linked with a bank account) and MMID combination. In addition, the user (sender) is also required to use mobile personal identification number (MPIN) to authenticate the transaction.
After keeping low for almost four years since its launch, IMPS volumes in terms of transactions and value have more than doubled since April this year.
According to data from NPCI, as on November, IMPS witnessed 78.11 lakh transactions worth Rs5,415.60 crore compared with 31.67 lakh transactions valued at Rs2,154.23 crore as on March 2014. In pure term of growth, this increase appears quite good, however, IMPS as a medium for payment transaction has a lot to catch up with traditional instruments like cheque payments or new age real time gross settlement system (RTGS) and national electronic funds transfer (NEFT).
“In order to promote Mobile banking in India, NPCI has developed a USSD based mobile banking platform called National Unified USSD platform (NUUP). NUUP is available across all GSM service providers and in multi-lingual format over and above English language, with 10 regional languages including Hindi,” Mr Rastogi told Moneylife.
For 2013-14, RTGS witnessed a volume of 8.11 crore transactions valued at Rs734.25 lakh crore. Similarly total paper clearing, including cheque truncation system, MICR and non-MICR clearing, saw 125 crore transactions worth Rs93.02 lakh crore. Total retail electronic clearing, including ECS, NEFT, IMPS and National Automated Clearing House (NACH) witnessed a volume of 110.83 crore transactions with the value of Rs47.86 lakh crore, says data from the Reserve Bank of India (RBI).
Compared with the huge volumes and transaction amounts, the contribution from IMPS looks miniscule. But with the deep penetration of mobiles, coupled with increased bank accounts, IMPS is bound to grow at exponential volumes, provided it gets due attention from the government and policy makers. At present, the awareness about IMPS is also low amongst several bank customers as well as bank officials.
Mr Rastogi added, “71 member banks currently with NPCI cover all the public sector banks and almost all the private sector banks. These members together cover more than 90 to 95% of the banking customers. However, there is a lot to be desired from member banks in terms of popularizing IMPS to their respective customers.” This will happen in someone can suggest to the Prime Minister to include IMPS in his Digital India initiative.
How to use IMPS?
Registration for Remitter (sender):
•Register yourself with the mobile banking service of the bank.
•Get Mobile Money Identifier (MMID) and MPIN from the bank
•Download software (Application) for mobile banking (ensure the compatibility of mobile with the application) or use the SMS facility in your mobile if your bank provides IMPS on SMS
Registration for Beneficiary (receiver):
• Link your mobile number to the account in the respective bank.
• Get Mobile Money Identifier (MMID) from the bank
For Remitter (To send money):
•Login to the application and select the IMPS menu from the mobile app or use the SMS facility in your mobile if your bank provides IMPS on SMS
•Get Beneficiary Mobile number and MMID
•Enter Beneficiary Mobile number, beneficiary MMID, Amount and your MPIN to send
•Await confirmation SMS for the debit in your account and credit in beneficiary account
•Note the transaction reference number for any future query
To receive money:
•Share your mobile number and MMID with the remitter
•Ask the remitter to send money using your mobile number and MMID
•Check the confirmation SMS for credit to your account from the remitter
•Note the transaction reference number for any future query
Watch the video at the end of the article to know how unaccounted money is converted into tax-free long term capital gains
The Securities and Exchange Board of India (SEBI) has set anti-money laundering guidelines to put in place stronger checks against possible laundering of funds through capital markets. Despite the regulations in place, SEBI recently sought help from various investigative agencies under the finance ministry on alleged money laundering in listed companies. According to reports, the markets regulator had written to the finance ministry, highlighting the method used by certain low-value companies to evade taxes.
The quantum of the alleged tax evasion is said to be pegged at Rs20,000 crore.
Moneylife has published several articles in the past on how money launders operate and the need for proper regulations. Read: Low-risk bank customer accounts can be a conduit for money laundering (http://www.moneylife.in/article/38547.html), Football and cricket most susceptible to money laundering (http://www.moneylife.in/article/36919.html ),Why financial institutions should comply with anti-money laundering laws (http://www.moneylife.in/article/33471.html) and more here (http://www.moneylife.in/?imageField.x=0&imageField.y=0&cx=012932029967637413115%3Aroup7yt0ras&cof=FORID%3A9&ie=UTF-8&q=money+laundering)
How exactly does the laundering take place, using the exchange platform to convert black money into white. Here’s how.
Ambareesh Baliga, managing partner, Global Wealth Management, Edelweiss Financial Services, explained this at a Moneylife Foundation event. He described the modus operandi of money laundering through listed companies. Mr Baliga, who has about 25 years of experience in the stock market, explains how a person reroutes his money through foreign investments in illiquid stocks which are manipulated by operators.
Such manipulative trades involves an entity seeking long-term capital gains exemption by approaching an operator, who finds out an illiquid stock on the exchange platform and gets an allotment of shares done to the entity. Over a one year at least period the operator rigs the stock price up to a pre-determined level. This is when the foreign entity gets in, and gullible investors get in taking the stock higher as the earlier entity gets out. This enables conversion of unaccounted money into tax-free long term capital gains. Watch the video:
From Moneylife Foundation programme on 28 February 2014.