Payment & Settlement Systems Innovation Contest 2020

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).

Shorlisted Seven

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

Payment and Settlement Systems Innovation Contest

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:

  • Shri S Ganesh Kumar, Executive Director, Reserve Bank of India
  • Smt. Sunita Handa, Chief General Manager, IT Channels and Operations, State Bank of India
  • Dr. Santanu Paul, Managing Director & Chief Executive Officer, TalentSprint
  • Dr. C. Krishna Mohan, Professor, Indian Institute of Technology, Hyderabad

The Winners

And the Winners were:

  • First Prize of Rs 10 Lakh: Innovation Titled "Enabling Feature Phone Payments via SoundTech" by Team ToneTag. This is a secure sound-wave communication technology platform that enables payments and proximity customer engagement services on any device, independent of the instrument or the infrastructure. The aim is to make payments safe & frictionless, and payment experience as simple as paying by cash. The technology is equipped to enable payments between consumers and merchants, irrespective of them being or not being connected to the internet, making it highly interoperable and highly scalable. With ToneTag, anyone and everyone - a smartphone user or feature phone user, can make a seamless and secure digital transactions.
  • Second Prize of Rs 5 Lakh: Innovation Titled "Yoti Digital Identity App" by Team Yoti Biometri Identity Private Ltd. Yoti is a free app that enables users to create their verified digital identity in less than five minutes by taking a face scan, liveness check and scanning original ID documents that are verified. Yoti users can then share their identity attributes like Name, Age, Gender, Address seamlessly, securely and with their consent to BFSI Institutions on the Yoti network. A digital share receipt provided by the entity consuming the identity attribute information is maintained in the individuals Yoti App, for digital trail. BFSI institutions can use the pre-verified identity attributes, including photo, from an individual's Yoti Digital Identity to complete their KYC. Yoti provides BFSI institutions a mutualized KYC that is instantly verifiable, trusted and cost-effective.
  • Third Prize of Rs 2 Lakh: Innovation Titled "All In One Card and Cardless Payments" by Team Kashware. The vision is to unite all payment methods such as credit & debit cards, mobile wallets, bank accounts / UPI, etc. into one single device that works everywhere! This technology allows the devices to 'contactless' communicate with any card terminal across the globe, without using contemporary technologies like NFC, Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, etc.