As Indians, we have always had pop culture references to agencies like RAW, CBI , IB, Narcotics Control Bureau et al. One agency that often does not feature in these references and movie plots is The Reserve Bank of India. We often underestimate the importance of RBI and most of us don’t even understand more than its full form. Unlike the CBI, RAW and IB who are involved in special operations and tasks which are often more screen worthy, RBIs work is something that occurs below the surface. Yet the common man will have a more direct connect with the RBI than he will with these other agencies. And amongst all that RBI has supported the Indian public like a parent, it’s time to know how.
Remember how every month a certain 799 rupees got debited from your bank towards your Netflix Account, oh wait or you don’t remember it. That is exactly the bone of contention. RBI released a mandate wherein it said that
- All recurring payments below Rs. 5000 will have to be re authenticated and an e-mandate shall be set up for every subsequent payment.
- For recurring payments above Rs. 5000, a consent mechanism and 2-factor authentication shall be required each time the payment is to be processed.
What this means is, Netflix, Spotify and others can’t just simply auto debit money at the end of every month because you forgot to unsubscribe. They’ll have to ask you for your money and you have the right to know where your money goes (and if you actually want it to go).
This was a major blow to organizations like Spotify and Netflix whose billing model took a hit and so did the number of active customers. Eventually Netflix came out with revised plans offering a 50% discount on their prices to gain back customers. It hit those organizations where it hurt the most, their accounts but RBI took a decision making sure the Indian customer was protected and supported.
Wait, not just that, there’s more. Remember all the “Easy Checkout”, “Buy Now” ploys used by websites like Amazon and services like Zomato which was just a very fancy way of saying “Oi, we have your card details, buy this now” (just like calling creepy things that track you across the internet as cookies 😊). RBI believes and rightly so, that storing card details on merchant sites is not the safest thing to do as there have been multiple reports of security breaches. And RBI wants to get rid of it.
How you ask? No, RBI doesn’t want you to type out your full name, then those 16 digits and then your CVV. A system of tokenization will soon come into effect. You can choose to tokenize your card which in simple terms means an individual ID for all your cards with separate vendors. Okay, we lost you there, let’s say you have an SBI Debit card that you use for payments. Now that same SBI debit card will have a different token ID on Swiggy, a different ID on Zomato and a different token ID on Uber. Which means that these companies themselves will never know your card details preventing any further misuse. This is again a customer and consumer centric decision by India’s primary bank.
Looking at measures like these makes us feel that RBI is that protective parent who is looking out for its children and we are glad. As we move forward towards a Digital World, it is comforting to know that RBI wants it to be a Safe Digital World.
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