Indian banks moving towards electronic payment systems

11 December 2006

Indian banking sector has made a quantum leap forward in terms of switching over from paper-based transactions to electronic means, which include Real Time Gross Settlement (RTGS), National Electronic Fund Transfer (NEFT) and other electronic modes.

The volume and value of card and electronic based payments have more than doubled in 2006 from the previous year. “If managed through a clear, consistent strategy, electronic payment products can be a real source of competitive advantage and profitability for banks”, according to Anurag Khanna, CEO, Banknet India.

Mr Khanna advised that Banknet India's Third Annual Conference on Payment Systems in Banks will bring together prominent speakers from Reserve Bank of India and major banks on the 10th January 2007 at Mumbai to discuss on ACH, ECS, RTGS, NEFT, Cheque Truncation.

Banknet India’s Conference will also focus on various payment channels like ATMs, Internet & Mobile Banking and Card Payments. Issues related to Security, Remittances & Technology will also be deliberated at the conference.

Extension of electronic funds transfer (EFT) facility by the banks has changed the money transfer scenario. After launch of RTGS system by RBI in March 2004, corporate bodies and other bank customers have now the option to transfer funds to designated branches instantaneously. The coverage of the RTGS system has increased significantly. By October 23, 2006, RTGS connectivity was available in 24,425 branches. The number of transactions using the system has exceeded 300,000 per month.

The lower value payments are to be settled through National Electronic Fund Transfer (NEFT), which the RBI is currently popularising. NEFT system went live on November 1, 2005 and is now available at 9,096 branches.

The implementation of Cheque Truncation System (CTS) is another effort from RBI for bringing in paper-less payment systems. The pilot project for cheque truncation system is expected to be implemented in New Delhi by end-December, 2006.

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