RBI’s takes strict action on Paytm Payments Bank, What will happen to you now?

Tejas Pratap
By Tejas Pratap - Entertainment & Politics Writer
8 Min Read

The Reserve Bank of India (RBI) has imposed several restrictions on Paytm Payments Bank Limited (PPBL), a leading company in the world of digital payments.

In the RBI circular issued on January 31, 2024, the company has also been barred from adding new customers, accepting new deposits in the account, issuing new debit/credit cards and upgrading PPBL’s internet banking or mobile banking services.

Read this article in detail to understand the possible reasons for this strict action, its impact on customers and Paytm’s response.

Possible reasons behind RBI action

The Reserve Bank of India has taken this action under Section 35A of the Banking Regulation Act, 1949, using its regulatory powers on Paytm Payments Bank.

Although the exact reasons have not been made clear in the official statement, indications from sources point towards the following concerns:

  • Violation of Know Your Customer (KYC) norms: KYC norms are a set of guidelines followed by any bank or financial institution while adding new customers. Their objective is to prevent money laundering and illegal financial activities. There is a possibility that Paytm Payments Bank was not adequately following KYC guidelines.
  • Shortcomings in data security: In the world of digital transactions, users’ data is the most valuable asset of any company. RBI sets strict guidelines on how a company collects, processes and protects user data. It is believed that Paytm Payments Bank was not following adequate data security.
  • Other supervisory concerns: In taking effective action RBI indicated that perhaps there were other serious regulatory concerns that forced RBI to temporarily disrupt the operations of PPBL.

What are the new restrictions?

RBI has imposed the following major restrictions:

  • Ban on adding new customers: Paytm Payments Bank will not be able to add any new customers to its platform with immediate effect.
  • Ban on new deposit accounts: Existing customers will also not be able to deposit additional funds in their Paytm Bank account during this period.
  • Ban on new debit/credit cards: Paytm Payments Bank will not be able to issue any new virtual or physical debit or credit cards.
  • Order to audit IT system: With immediate effect, RBI has ordered PPBL to conduct a comprehensive audit of its IT system, so that the deficiencies can be identified and removed.

Deep impact on Paytm customers.

These restrictions will have a major impact on millions of customers of Paytm Payments Bank. Here’s how its effects will be felt:

  • New customers will not be able to onboard: Paytm Payments Bank had built a large customer base on the back of a fast and easy onboarding process. The ban will severely hamper its growth.
  • Problem in depositing money: Due to additional credit freeze in the account, transactions will continue as usual, but customers will face difficulty in depositing money in their wallet/account, especially for new users.
  • Impact on UPI and FASTag services: Although currently customers can do Paytm Wallet and UPI transactions using their existing balance, these services are likely to be disrupted after February 29, 2024. FASTag facility may also be badly affected.

Paytm’s response: ‘Will work with RBI’

Paytm has said in a statement that it is working with RBI to address all regulatory concerns. The company has laid special emphasis on the fact that on Paytm App, Paytm Wallet, FASTag or any other existing service, this will not have any immediate effect.

What will happen to your money?

At present your money deposited in Paytm Payments Bank is completely safe. RBI ensures that all banks maintain adequate cash reserves.

If you wish, you can also withdraw your money before the deadline of February 29, 2024, either by transferring it to another account or exploring other options.

RBI has also clarified that this action will not have any direct impact on Paytm’s main app and other payment services, only they are banned from accepting new deposits directly into the payment bank account.

After 29th February 2024, RBI will decide what is the future of Paytm Payments Bank. Some options may be:

  • Agreement on penalty: If Paytm is successful in resolving the deficiencies pointed out by the RBI within the stipulated time frame, they may be fined heavily and the bank will be able to resume normal activities.
  • Restoration after brief disruption: In some cases, the RBI may order closure of business operations at a bank, requiring the bank to settle customer deposits within a time limit. If this happens in the case of Paytm, customers need not panic as their deposits are insured up to ₹5 lakh by the Deposit Insurance and Credit Guarantee Corporation (DICGC).
  • Permanent License Cancellation: There may be a situation where RBI may permanently cancel the license of the bank if serious violations are found. In such a situation, customers also do not need to panic because through deposit insurance, they will definitely get back their remaining deposit amount up to ₹ 5 lakh.

Increased regulation in fintech

This action by RBI highlights the increased regulation of the digital finance and payments sector. In India, many fintech companies are witnessing unprecedented growth, making it even more important to ensure that they are fully compliant with customer data protection and KYC regulations.

RBI is taking proactive steps to ensure that the digital payments space remains safe and secure for consumers. Such regulatory actions also create pressure on other fintech companies to maintain strict compliance.

Impact on the market

Being one of the largest UPI (Unified Payment Interface) platforms in India, these restrictions on Paytm Payments Bank are likely to have a negative impact on the financial and stock markets.

This ban will not only impact the share price of Paytm (One97 Communications Limited), but may also see a temporary negativity in investor outlook in the digital payments and fintech sector.

Road Ahead

This strict action of RBI has come as a huge blow to Paytm and will definitely shake the confidence of consumers.

Although Paytm has said that all the shortcomings will be resolved, at this time it only remains to be seen whether Paytm is able to resolve the shortcomings pointed out by the regulatory body by February 29 or not.

Whether the current ban is large and permanent – or whether Paytm is able to successfully overcome it – will have a profound impact on the future trajectory of the Indian fintech industry.

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By Tejas Pratap Entertainment & Politics Writer
Tejas Pratap Singh writes about bollywood and entertainment with a fresh perspective for Dumdaar Khabar. His Arts background (B.A, Kanpur University) gives him a special way of looking at entertainment. With 10 years of experience, he provides in-depth reporting.
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