RBI gives nod to Finance Ministry's proposal.
Mobile wallets and e-wallets will soon be opened to 100 per cent FDI, but with stringent rules to safeguard stability of the country's financial markets. Telecom major Bharti, handset maker Nokia and a number of retailers have already launched stored value cards. A user can load cash on these cards that can be used to make various payments, obviating the need to carry a large amount of cash.
The possibilities of 100 per cent FDI in m-wallet have arisen with the Reserve Bank of India giving a conditional nod to the Finance Ministry's proposal. Under the proposal, the Ministry plans to allow 100 per cent foreign direct investment (FDI) through the automatic route in these payment services.
The Department of Industrial Policy and Promotion, which administers the country's FDI policy, will issue the updated regulations though a consolidated policy document by the end of the month. With the operationalisation, the department will create a separate category of financial services, payment system activities by non-banks, under the list of activities allowed to NBFCs that have FDI.
These services will include prepaid payment instruments, mobile wallet, e-wallet and technology infrastructure for supporting retail payment systems for credit or debit cards and prepaid payment instruments.
The agencies offering these services will have to comply with the Payment and Settlement Systems Act, 2007 and also comply with the minimum capitalisation norm of $50 million applicable to NBFCs, a condition put forth by the RBI.