PhonePe Account Aggregator Pvt Ltd, a wholly-owned subsidiary of the PhonePe Group has obtained an in-principle license from the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) to function as an Account Aggregator (AA).
The license allows the Walmart-backed digital payments service provider to introduce its account aggregator platform, which will allow for the safe and secure exchange of financial data between financial information users (FIUs) and financial information providers (FIPs) with customer confirmation. This will make it easier for Indian consumers to avail banking services more efficiently.
IndusInd Bank was the first bank to implement the RBI’s Account Aggregator Framework in October 2020. The central bank, in 2016 recognized a new category of non-banking financial companies (NBFCs) to function as Account Aggregators, which oversee consent for financial data sharing. RBI explains Account Aggregator is a data access fiduciary (DAF) for financial data.
An account aggregator, according to RBI, delivers the service of retrieving or collecting information on a customer’s financial assets, as determined by a bank from time to time, within the terms of a contract. An AA’s business also incorporates consolidating, organizing, and presenting relevant information to the customer or any other individual based on the customer’s instructions.
AAs are completely information technology-driven and are governed by the RBI, the Securities and Exchange Board of India (SEBI), the Insurance Regulatory and Development Authority of India (IRDAI), and the Pension Fund Regulatory and Development Authority (PFRDA). This clearly indicates they can’t retain any information and can only support data flow in real-time.
Rahul Chari CTO and co-founder of PhonePe commented on the development saying, “The Account Aggregator license will allow us to play a pivotal role in shaping the emergent Account Aggregator ecosystem for consent-based financial data sharing. Our AA technology stack will enable any Financial information user (FIU) to instantly retrieve financial information with customer consent from the Financial information provider (FIP).”
PhonePe’s co-founder also stated that the company is looking forward to working collaboratively with all industry stakeholders to promote the RBI’s vision of achieving broader financial inclusion across the country. This is a significant breakthrough for the platform, which has over 30 million registered users and is accepted by over 20 million merchants across India.
PhonePe, which was purchased by Flipkart in 2016, manages to outperform other UPI platforms with a market share of 47.61 percent in terms of value and 46.9% in terms of volume of payments. PhonePe claims to have completed customer payments of Rs 2.88 lakh crore in July 2021.
At present, only 12 banks and financial institutions have integrated the FIU and FIP framework at various phases which includes State Bank of India (SBI), HDFC Bank, ICICI Bank, LendingKart among others.