Demonetisation: RBI takes special steps, increases mobile wallet limit to Rs 20,000 per month

Users can load up to Rs 20,000 into digital wallets, and merchants can transfer Rs 50,000 worth of funds into bank accounts every month.

The RBI has issued a circular to address the special circumstances that have emerged after the demonetisation drive to curb the menace of black money.

Any service to which you can add in money that can be used for financial transactions later, on is called a Prepaid Payment Instrument (PPI) by the RBI. For regular users, the PPI limit has been doubled to Rs 20,000. The limit so far was Rs 10,000.

This means that mobile wallets, digital wallets and smart cards can be loaded with more cash now. The limit for any given month cannot exceed Rs 20,000, and all other regulations remain unchanged.

There is a special provision for small merchants also. The PPI providers have to first register the small merchants and verify their bank accounts. After this, the transfer limit to banks from PPI has been increased to Rs 50,000 per month, with no limit on the amount that can be transferred in a single transaction.

However, the amount of money loaded into a PPI can only be Rs 20,000, even for merchants. This means that essentially, the maximum possible transaction to a bank account from a merchant held PPI is Rs 20,000. The inflow of funds to the merchant account can be over sale transactions only.

The measures are meant to ease the transition into a cashless economy, as well as reduce the problems faced by people following the demonetisation. Govind Rajan, CEO of Freecharge, has responded to the relaxed limits, and has said, "FreeCharge welcomes RBI's decision to increase the limits on wallets to Rs 20,000 for users and to Rs 50,000 for merchant bank transfers. This doubling of limits will have an immensely beneficial impact for users and small merchants. Given the quantum jump in digital wallets usage in recent days, this increase in limits makes it easier for both users and merchants to shift more of their cash transactions to digital wallets. The progressive policies of the RBI and the government's prompt resolution of industry issues will go a long way in building a cash less India."

The instructions of the circular come into immediate effect. The relaxed limits will last till 30 December 2016, at which point the instructions will be reviewed.

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