Get full access to one story every week, and to summaries of all other stories. Just create a free account

Just six days ahead of a rather tricky deadline, the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) has issued a reprieve. Albeit temporary. 

The country’s banking regulator had decreed that by 30 June, all online merchants and payment processors had to stop storing customer card data. Instead, they would have to implement something called card tokenisation—the process of replacing information such as the debit card or credit card number with a surrogate alpha-numeric code called a token, generally issued by card networks such as Mastercard, Visa, and Rupay.

However, in two separate statements on the evening of 24 June, the RBI extended the deadline for both purging stored customer data and implementing card tokensation to 30 September. This is the third such deadline extension that the RBI has granted the new card information storage rules, first introduced in March 2020. 

And it appears to be signalling a shift in the central bank’s thinking about the system’s preparedness. 

Earlier this month, RBI’s deputy governor T Rabi Sankar had indicated that the regulator felt the system was adequately prepared for implementing card tokenisation. “The progress has been satisfactory. Over the last several months, our teams have been constantly discussing with all stakeholders… The system is by and large prepared,” Sankar said said Moneycontrol Ecosystem largely prepared to implement tokenisation, says RBI Dy Governor T Rabi Sankar Read more  at the time.

But in its Friday statement, the RBI noted that while there has been “considerable progress” in generating card tokens, processing transactions using them is yet to fully take off.  In addition, no alternate solution has been implemented for guest checkouts—a transaction where customers manually enter their card details instead of storing them with a merchant. 

If the shift had been implemented as planned, it would have had a significant impact on the over 200 million online transactions that occur on credit and debit cards each month in India. As of May 2022, India had a total of ~1 billion outstanding credit and debit cards, according to RBI data.

The most significant impact, though, would have been on guest checkouts.  According to estimates shared by executives with payment processors, such transactions account for between 50% to 60% of the overall volume. 

“There are readiness problems with guest checkouts across the ecosystem,” a senior digital payments executive at a large bank told The Ken, a few hours before the RBI announced the extension. They added that while banks, payment processors, and card networks have been interacting with the regulator and each other on the issue, there’s no immediate solution on the horizon.

AUTHOR

Jaspreet Kalra

Jaspreet covers banking, financial technology and digital assets. He is a graduate of St. Stephen’s College, Delhi and Columbia University’s Graduate School of Journalism. Jaspreet has previously worked with CoinDesk and Bank Automation News. When unoccupied with work, he can be found pretending to read hardbacks while listening to stand-up specials.

View Full Profile

Read this story. Subscribe Now

This story is available across both editions. Subscribe to the one that’s most relevant for you. Questions?

 

Premium

  • 5 original and reported longform business stories every week
  • Access to ONLY India edition
  • Close to 250 exclusive stories every year
  • Full access to over 5 years of paywalled stories
  • Pick up to 5 premium subscriber newsletters
  • 4 original and reported longform business stories each week
  • Access to ONLY Southeast Asia edition
  • Close to 200 exclusive stories every year
  • Full access to all paywalled stories since March 2020
  • Pick up to 5 premium subscriber newsletters

Rs. 2,750 /year

$ 120 /year

India Edition
Subscribe Subscribe
Most Asked For

Borderless

  • 8 original and reported longform business stories each week
  • Access to both India and Southeast Asia editions
  • Close to 400 exclusive stories every year
  • Full access to over 5 years of paywalled stories across India and Southeast Asia
  • Unlimited access to all premium subscriber newsletters
  • Visual Stories

Rs. 4,200 /year

Subscribe
 

Echelon

  • 8 original and reported longform business stories each week
  • Access to both India and Southeast Asia editions
  • Close to 400 exclusive stories every year
  • Full access to over 5 years of paywalled stories across India and Southeast Asia
  • Unlimited access to all premium subscriber newsletters
  • Visual Stories
  • Bonus annual gift subscription
  • Priority access to all new products and features

Rs. 8,474 /year

Subscribe
Or

Questions?

What kind of subscription plans do you offer?

We have three types of subscriptions
- Premium which gives you access to either the India or the Southeast Asia edition.
- Borderless which gives you complete access to The Ken across both editions
- Echelon which gives you complete access to The Ken across both editions along with a bonus gift subscription

What do I get if I subscribe?

The Premium edition gives you access to stories in that edition along with any five subscriber-only newsletters of your choice.

The Borderless and Echelon subscription gives you complete access to The Ken across editions and unlimited access to as many newsletters as you like.

What topics do you usually write about?

We publish sharp, original and reported stories on technology, business and healthcare. Our stories are forward-looking, analytical and directional — supported by data, visualisations and infographics. We use language and narrative that is accessible to even lay readers. And we optimise for quality over quantity, every single time.

Our specialised subscriber-only newsletters are written by our expert, award-winning journalists and cover a range of topics across finance, retail, clean energy, cryptocurrency, ed-tech and many more.

How many newsletters do you have?

We are constantly adding specialised subscriber-only newsletters all the time. All of these are written by our team of award-winning journalists on a specialised topic.

You can see the list of newsletters that we publish over here.

Does a Premium subscription to your Indian edition get me access to the Southeast Asia edition? Or vice-versa?

Afraid not. Each edition is separate with its own subscription plan. The India edition publishes stories focused on India. The Southeast Asia edition is focused on Southeast Asia. We may occasionally cross-publish stories from one edition to the other.

We recommend the Borderless or the Echelon Plan which will give you access to stories across both editions.

Do you have a mobile app?

Yes! We have a top-rated mobile app on both iOS and Android which allows you to read on-the-go and has some amazing features like the ability to bookmark stories, save on your device, dark mode, and much more. It’s really the best way to read The Ken.

Is there a free trial?

You can sign up for a free account to experience The Ken and understand our products better. We’ll send you some free stories and newsletters occasionally, and you can access our archive of previously published free stories. You can stay on the free account as long as you’d like.

The vast majority of our stories, articles and newsletters can be accessed only by a paid subscription.

Do you offer any discounts?

Sorry, no. Our journalism is funded completely by our subscribers. We believe that quality journalism comes at a price, and readers trust and pay us so that we can remain independent.

Do you offer refunds?

No. We allow you to sample our journalism for free before signing up, and after you do, we stand by its quality. But we do not offer refunds.

I am facing some trouble purchasing a subscription. What can I do?

Just write to us at [email protected] with details. We’ll help you out.

I have a few more questions. How can I reach out to you?

Sure. Just email us at [email protected] or follow us on Twitter.