Digital India: Meal vouchers in paper form will not be allowed, says RBI

Paper based meal vouchers could soon be replaced by digital solutions.

If you have been using meal vouchers or similar coupons from Sodexo and The Ticket Restaurant, soon you will have to move to a digital version.

According to a report, the latest Reserve Bank of India (RBI) guidelines for wallets says that prepaid payment instruments (PPIs) in the form of paper vouchers will not be allowed.

The revised RBI guidelines say that the minimum validity of the prepaid meal instruments shall be one year from the date of loading. Existing paper vouchers shall not be valid beyond December 31, 2017.  It also said that companies that are issuing meal vouchers under B2B arrangements in paper voucher form will now have to issue them in electronic form, including cards, and the maximum value in these PPIs cannot exceed Rs 1,00,000.

Sodexo has reportedly started digitizing its vouchers through a card system. To make sure these cards are widely accepted, Sodexo has tied up with point of sales deploying entities such as Worldline, First Data and Pine Labs.

Just last year we saw the launch of Zeta Meal Vouchers, which is a mobile-based meal voucher platform for corporate employees. Zeta Meal Vouchers allows employees to purchase food and non-alcoholic beverages from retail outlets. According to Zeta Meal Vouchers' co-founder, Bhavin Turakhia, they charge merchants a commission of 1-2 percent of the purchase while Sodexo and Ticket Restaurant charge a commission of 4-7 percent. He also mentioned that Zeta has tied up with RBL Bank to make sure they have proper licenses from the RBI.

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