After the Reserve Bank of India said in December last year that Bharat Billpay can expand into new payment modes across both recurring and non recurring payments, the newly-formed company wants to go after both government payments and P2P transactions.
“We intend to enable all kinds of collection payments, and become the defacto collections platform across use cases. With BBPS it does not matter whether one uses a credit card or UPI or a debit card or even cash to make a transaction – we are truly mode agnostic,” said Noopur Chaturvedi, chief executive officer of NPCI Bharat Billpay.
Chaturvedi joined Bharat Billpay in August 2021. Prior to that she was with digital payments major PayU and Airtel Payments Bank.
“We are still in the early stages of creating individual’s collections like rent, business collections solutions and others, but we are looking to co create these products with ecosystem partners,” she told ET..
Any form of mandate-based payments can move into the BBPS ecosystem. While bill payments, credit card payments and others were the first products, eventually the plan is to get into all forms of business to business payments, consumer to government payments and even P2P transactions.
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One category that is doubling year-on-year for BBPS is loan repayments. Chaturvedi pointed out that multiple digital lenders are using the mandate structure of BBPS to initiate EMI payments every month. Such transactions just need an explicit consent from the user and the transaction gets done smoothly. While BBPS wanted to go after school fees and such monthly or quarterly payments, the education sector has not adopted this mode wholeheartedly.“Both Fastag and loan repayments are two of our fastest growing categories currently,” Chaturvedi said. “Around 40% of the volumes are coming from electricity bill payments, the biggest business area for us.”
NBBL is working with 65 to 70 direct partners including most of the major lenders and payment applications, but Chaturvedi wants to expand this ecosystem. Currently, companies have to go through an RBI audit to become an operating unit on BBPS. The payments body is trying to ease up the process of integration so more partners can be added. This will require explicit permission from the RBI though.
Just like UPI, PhonePe dominates the consumer-facing applications for BBPS as well. In July 2023, PhonePe reported 49 million transactions settling Rs 11,280 crore. Billdesk settled 21 million transactions worth Rs 3,581 crore.
In July, BBPS settled 108 million transactions worth Rs 23,681 crore. A year back in July, it had settled 85 million transactions worth Rs 16,217 crore.
Consumer-facing operating units are those who onboard consumers into the BBPS ecosystem. It includes bank apps, agent apps, PhonePe, Google Pay, Paytm and others. Biller side operating units are those who onboard billers like state electricity distributors, the likes of Tata Play, Jio Broadband and others.
NPCI-owned BBPS was spun out into a separate entity back in 2021 with the mandate to digitise bill payments in the country. Multiple industry insiders pointed out that bill payments is a massively profitable business with revenue being generated from each transaction on the network. Eventually, NBBL could help create shareholder value as well by either attracting strategic investors or going public.
Chaturvedi did not comment on these plans, pointing out as of now the company is focusing on getting as many payment categories into its fold as possible.
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