RBI’s top priority is to protect Paytm customers: Governor Shaktikanta Das

Reserve Bank of India governor Shaktikanta Das on Monday said the central bank’s top priority is to protect the customers of Paytm Payments Bank and that the RBI will not review its decision to restrict activities of the entity.

Representational image.
Representational image.

“We take all decisions after lot of consultation, a lot of analysis… At the moment, let me be very clear, there is no review of this decision,” he told media persons in New Delhi. The Paytm bank was under the scanner for a long time and the RBI had on 11 March 2022 directed it to stop onboarding new customers with immediate effect.

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On 31 January 2024, the RBI prohibited Paytm Payments Bank Ltd (PPBL) from taking deposits or credit transactions or top-ups from any customer from February 29. The central bank gave a one-month transition time to PPBL’s customers so that their urgent transactions linked with the payment bank is not abruptly halted, Das said during a press conference after the RBI’s Central Board of Directors’ meeting, which was addressed by Union finance minister Nirmala Sitharaman.

RBI will soon release a frequently asked questions (FAQs) this week in order to assuage concerns of the Paytm bank’s customers, Das said. “FAQs which we are proposing to issue is targeting the inconvenience or issues faced by the depositors and customers wallet users, FASTag holders. Whatever is in the customers’ interest that we are dealing in FAQs. Regarding review of decision, there is nothing on the table,” he said.

According to the RBI, all deposits or credit transactions will be disallowed in the customer accounts of the Paytm bank from 1 March 2024. However, interest, cashbacks and refunds could be credited and customers can withdraw or utilise their account balance.

Das said the RBI supports fintech but its prime objective is to protect the interest of customers and depositors as money of millions of people are involved.

The Paytm spokesperson did not respond to an email query. The company, however, circulated an email to its customers saying their money is safe and they can make withdrawals. “Please note that you will not be able to deposit or add money to your Paytm Payments Bank Account/Wallet after Feb 29, 2024. However, there is no restriction on withdrawal of money from your existing balance even after Feb 29, 2024. The directive does not impact your existing balances and your money is safe with the Bank,” it said in the email sent on February 2.

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