To give a push to digital transactions in areas with poor or weak internet or telecom connectivity, particularly in semi-urban and rural areas, the RBI has issued a framework allowing offline payments up to Rs 200 per transaction, subject to an overall limit of Rs 2,000.
An ‘offline digital payment’ means a transaction that does not require internet or telecom connectivity. In the offline mode, payments can be carried out face-to-face (proximity mode) using any channel or instrument like cards, wallets, and mobile devices. Such transactions will not require an additional factor of authentication (AFA). Since the transactions are offline, alerts (by way of SMS and/or e-mail) will be received by the customer after a time lag.
Transactions are subject to a limit of Rs 200 per transaction and an overall limit of Rs 2,000 for all transactions until the balance in the account is replenished. Balance replenishment can only occur in an on-line mode. The offline mode of payment can be enabled only after obtaining the specific consent of the customer.
The framework incorporates the feedback received from the pilot experiments on offline transactions conducted in different parts of the country during the period from September 2020 to June 2021.