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RBI relaxes security norms for card transactions

The Reserve Bank of India said it is ready to relax security norms with regard to ‘card present transactions’ which use the NFC technology. It said ATM transactions where the card is not present will continue to require the additional factor of authentication – a PIN or a one-time password. The central bank said in a draft circular that it has been decided to relax the extant instructions relating to the need for additional factor of authentication requirements for small value card present transactions only using contact-less card payments using NFC. The limit has been set at Rs 2,000 per transaction even for contact-less cards. RBI said this decision has been taken after examining the trade-off between security and convenience. The two-factor authentication issue came to light after the RBI discovered that the US-based tax aggregator Uber was circumventing this norm. This led to the central bank asking the American company to comply with its norms by last October or else shut shop. Uber fell in line and complied with the norms. At present, a customer has to key-in the PIN for authenticating every transaction. If the draft circular gets implemented, customers using contactless cards will not have to key in the PIN for transaction up to Rs 2,000. At present, only ICICI Bank has a contactless card and State Bank of India is in the process of lauching a similar card.

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