Payment and Settlement Systems are witnessing rapid changes with the forces of innovation at play. A goal of the Reserve Bank of India is to universalise digital payments and provide for payment systems which are affordable, available round the clock and accessible to everyone. This can be achieved by expanding the payment ecosystem and encouraging further innovation in products and systems.
In order to provide a platform to showcase innovations and foster new developments by entrepreneurs, start-ups and similar entities in the payments space, the Reserve Bank of India decided to conduct an Innovation Contest on Payment and Settlement Systems and entrusted the task of conducting the Payment and Settlement Systems Innovation Contest (PSSIC) to the Institute for Development and Research in Banking Technology (IDRBT).
The PSSIC is designed to provide a platform to encourage, recognise, promote and display innovations by individuals, groups, entrepreneurs, companies, start-ups and similar entities in the Payment and Settlement Systems arena.
The Institute issued a national advertisement calling for participation in the PSSIC and the last date of receipt of submissions was November 08, 2019. The call evoked a very good response with submissions coming in right from companies in the payment systems space to individuals, who are focussed on expanding the horizons of digital payments. A team of experts scrutinised the proposals received taking into account the relevance of the submission as well as extent of innovation and shortlisted the following seven innovations for the final stage of the contest:
|Sl. No.||Name of the Innovation||Affiliation|
|1.||Distress Signal Enablement in Payment Transaction||Mastercard Technology Pvt. Ltd.|
|2.||A Secure True P2P Payment Solution||PR Eknath|
|3.||Enabling Feature Phone Payments via Sound Tech||ToneTag|
|4.||All-in-One Card & Card-less Payments||Kashware|
|5.||Yoti Digital Identity App||Yoti Biometric Identity Pvt. Ltd.|
|6.||Innovative Settlement Modes||InSolutions Global|
|7.||Intelligent Dispute Management & Settlement System||Maximus Infoware (India) Pvt. Ltd|
Taking the process forward, the IDRBT organised the Payment and Settlement Systems Innovation Contest on February 25, 2020. All the seven shortlisted teams were invited to present their innovations on the occasion.
Starting off the proceedings, Dr. A. S. Ramasastri, Director, IDRBT, stressed on the need to tap innovations in the payments space, especially those that address challenging situations like poor or no network connectivity. Major differences in language, literacy levels and trust in digital systems also need to be bridged through technological innovations. Urban-centric solutions are a good beginning but we need to now move on to address issues of the hinterland, he emphasised. The good solutions presented at the PSSIC, need to be taken forward so that they impact the country and world at large, he added.
Thereafter, Shri S. Ganesh Kumar, Executive Director, Reserve Bank of India, delivering the keynote address on the occasion, focused on the information technology related threats in the rapidly evolving banking ecosystem. He emphasised that given India's demography is becoming increasingly young, banking solutions should cater to them. Some of the characteristics that the young look for are comfort, convenience and confidence. Banks are increasingly challenged to get a balance between the three and that's where we need innovation.
IoT and other emerging technologies are making the payment systems ubiquitous. As IoT devices start driving payments, solutions will need to ensure robustness in the ecosystem, without impacting usability. On another front, the systems are gradually moving to 24x7 operations in the banking domain. The recent extension in NEFT timings is an initial step in that direction. He also exhorted the banks to evangelize security as responsibility for each and every stakeholder. On a related discussion, he mentioned that effective policies and enforcements necessitated the guidelines around data storage. He also said that some of the service providers innovated and found efficiencies in the new system as they implemented these guidelines.
Thereafter, all the seven teams presented their innovations, which were adjudged by an Eminent Jury consisting of:
And the Winners were: