RBI allows mass transit Metro Rail operators to issue their own pre-paid cards

Mumbai: The Reserve Bank of India (RBI) has proposed to allow mass transit metro rail system operators like Mumbai Metro or Delhi Metro to issue their own pre-paid cards. As of now, the metro rail operators needs to tie-up with few banks to issue pre-paid cards which enables customer to tap and pay for transit rather than standing in long queues to buy tickets before travelling.

The draft norm issued by RBI on Thursday says that pre-paid payment instruments (PPI) by metro rail operators operators will be a new category of semi-closed PPI which will have to be authorised under Payment and Settlement Systems Act, 2007.

Giving a rational for this, RBI said that it has been receiving requests from various segments, including providers of mass transit services, such as, metro train and road transport services, indicating the need for PPIs catering to the requirements of this segment to enhance commuter convenience. It further said that the migration of micro and small value cash payments to electronic payments can play a significant role in achieving the vision of less-cash society and metro rail operators is one such area, where a large number of small value cash payments take place.

The regulator has suggested that PPI – metro rail operators can be used at other merchants whose activities are allied to or are carried on within the premises of the transit system only.

As of now only few banks like State Bank of India (SBI) and ICICI Bank which has issued contactless card in tie-up with metro rail operators. The RBI has said that the balance in the card issued by PPI- metro rail operators should not exceed Rs 2000 at any point of time. Further, no cash out or refund may be permitted from these PPIs. The card will have minimum validity of six months from the date of issue. The new category of semi-closed PPI-metro rail operators will also be applicable for local railways and local buses who can issue their own cards enabling easy payment of small value payments.