RBI’s Digital Payments Ombudsman Will Help Boost Consumer Confidence
The Ombudsman Scheme for Digital Transactions, 2019 aims to quickly and resourcefully resolve complaints related to digital payments.
UPI transactions have seen 20x growth since last year. The transactions have gone into millions, but what we found to be even more impressive was the average transaction value of Rs 1,700 and total transactions worth Rs 1.33 lakh crore in March this year. This is no mean feat, especially when you consider the fact that a year ago, in March 2018, the average transaction value was Rs 787 and the number of transactions were just around 3 lakh.
India is transacting digitally using several other methods using netbanking, UPI apps, and e-wallets. The ease of transactions is there thanks to the technological innovations that we are witnessing. However, the problems are not few either. Payments tech has a long way to go in making digital transactions more seamless and secure. We, as an ecosystem, have a long way to go and we are doing well in the journey so far.
Of course, we are ably guided and supported by government bodies like the Reserve Bank of India (RBI). All of us in this ecosystem–companies, merchants, government bodies–want the retail users to benefit the most from the ease of transacting digitally. Moreover, RBI’s latest initiative will aid in this in a big way.
The Ombudsman Scheme for Digital Transactions, 2019 aims to quickly and resourcefully resolve complaints and grievances related to digital payments. If you encounter failed or wrongful transactions and you are unable to get them fixed with the authorized bank or payment firm directly, then you can approach a digital payments ombudsman and put forward your complaint with it. Data on Razorpay shows that a majority of digital transactions (close to 50%) fail because they get timed out. In the case of wrongful transactions, the response rate is typically high when the payments company or the bank is notified of failed or wrongful transactions within a period of 24 hours. The digital payments ombudsman comes into the picture when all else fails.
An ombudsman is a government official or government office tasked with the agenda of representing the general public’s interest in a particular area. The offices of an ombudsman have the power to investigate, address and settle the issues it receives.
The RBI has currently set up 21 digital payments ombudsman offices across India. This scheme came into force earlier this year, and in its latest monetary policy statement, the RBI stated that it also aims to harmonize the turnaround time for resolving these complaints.
This is a move worth hailing because consumer complaints should be addressed and resolved in all seriousness. Bad experiences with payment services can have a telling effect on a consumer’s willingness to transact online again. Consumers are skeptical about online services by default, especially when it comes to services that involve their hard-earned money. The last thing they want is a transaction failing or their money getting deducted wrongfully. RBI recognizes this, and the ombudsman scheme has been initiated to ensure that consumers know that they have an official government authority to reach out to.
Of course, the RBI also has to ensure that users who transact digitally are aware of the digital payments ombudsmen. People need to know how their complaints can get resolved and the fact that they have a government authority to reach out to in case they are unable to get issues resolved.
With the turnaround time getting optimized as well, the digital payments ombudsman will be an essential force in ensuring that more Indians transact digitally. Security concerns are always a deterrent, especially for consumers who are yet to embrace the convenience of digital transactions. RBI is expected to set the turnaround time by June this year, and we hope they meet this deadline. At the same time, it should also focus equally on raising awareness about the ombudsmen.
We foresee a digital future for India and while we, the companies within the ecosystem, are working at our best to ensure that the transactions are seamless and secure, having a government body looking after their interests will drive more consumers transacting digitally.